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Rule 72 - Subject matter and applicability of general rules

1. Hagans v. Wislizenus

Facts:
Hagans asserts that respondent RTC judge has no authority, in
special proceedings, to appoint assessors for the purpose of fixing
the amount due to an administrator or executor for his services and
expenses in the management of the estate of a deceased person.
Respondent claims otherwise.

Issue:
W/N an RTC judge, in special proceedings, is authorised under the
law to appoint assessors for the purpose of fixing the amount due
to an administrator or executor for his services and expenses in the
management of the estate of a deceased person - No.

Held:
No.

The respondent judge, in support of his demurrer, argues that the


provisions of Act No. 190 permit him to appoint assessors in
"special proceedings." The petitioner contends that no authority in
law exists for the appointment of assessors in such proceedings.

The only provisions of law which could, by any possibility, permit


the appointment of assessors in "special proceedings" are sections
153-161 of Act No. 190.
Section 154 provides that "either party to an action may apply in
writing to the judge for assessors to sit in the trial. Upon the filing
of such application, the judge shall direct that assessors be
provided.”

In view of the interpretation given to the words “action” and


"special proceeding" by the Legislature itself, we are driven to the
conclusion that there is a distinction between an "action" and a
"special proceeding," and that when the Legislature used the word
"action" it did not mean "special proceeding."

There is a marked distinction between an “action" and a "special


proceeding."

An action is a formal demand of one's legal rights in a court of


justice in the manner prescribed by the court or by the law. It is the
method of applying legal remedies according to definite
established rules.

The term "special proceeding" may be defined as an application or


proceeding to establish the status or right of a party, or a particular
fact. Usually, in special proceedings, no formal pleadings are
required, unless the statute expressly so provides. The remedy in
special proceedings is generally granted upon an application or
motion. Illustrations of special proceedings, in contradistinction to
actions, may be given: Proceedings for the appointment of an
administrator, guardians, tutors; contest of wills; to perpetuate
testimony; to change the name of persons; application for
admission to the bar, etc.

From all of the foregoing we are driven to the conclusion that in


proceedings like the present the judge of the Court of First
Instance is without authority to appoint assessors. Therefore, the
demurrer is hereby overruled and the prayer of the petition is
hereby granted, and it is hereby ordered and decreed that the order
of the respondent judge appoint - ing the assessors described in the
petition be and the same is hereby annulled and set aside; and,
without any finding as to costs, it is so ordered.

2. Natcher v. CA

Facts:
Spouses Graciano and Graciana owned a parcel of land in Manila,
as shown by a TCT 889. Upon Graciana’s death, Graciano,
together with his six children, entered into an extrajudicial
settlement of Graciana’s estate, dividing among themselves the
said parcel of land. A new TCT was issued in the name of
Graciano and the six children.

Later, the said heirs executed an Agreement of Consolidation and


Subdivision (Agreement) where they subdivided the land into
several lots among themselves.

Graciano later donated a portion of his interest to his children


equally, leaving him with only 447sqm as covered by TCT 359.
The land under TCT 980 was eventually further subdivided into 2
separate lots. Graciano sold the first lot (TCT 442) to a third
person and retained the 2nd lot (TCT 443)

Graciano married petitioner Natcher and eventually sold the land


covered by TCT 443 to her. Graciano died leaving Natcher and his
six children as heirs.

The children filed an ACTION FOR


RECONVEYANCE/ANNULMENT OF TITLE against Natcher
claiming that she, through the employment of fraud,
misrepresentation and forgery, acquired TCT 443 by making it
appear that Graciano executed a deed of sale. They also allege that,
as a consequence of such fraudulent sale, their legitimes have been
impaired.

Natcher argues that she was also a compulsory heir and that
Graciano had already distributed properties to his children while
he was alive therefore they may not anymore claim against his
estate or against Natcher’s property.

RTC ruled for Natcher and held that although the deed of sale in
favor of Natcher is prohibited by law as a sale or donation, it can
be regarded as an extension of advance inheritance of Natcher
being a compulsory heir.

CA reversed holding that the RTC had no jurisdiction. It held that


It is the probate court that has exclusive jurisdiction to make a just
and legal distribution of the estate. The court a quo, trying an
ordinary action for reconveyance/annulment of title, went beyond
its jurisdiction when it performed the acts proper only in a special
proceeding for the settlement of estate of a deceased person. What
the RTC should have done was merely to rule on the validity of the
sale and leave the issue on advancement to be resolved by a
probate court.

Hence this petition by Natcher.

Issue:
W/N the RTC, in action for reconveyance / annulment of title, had
jurisdiction to rule on matters relating to the settlement of the
estate of a deceased person particularly on questions as to
advancement of property made by the decedent to any of the heirs
- No.

Held:
No.

Section 3, Rule 1 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure defines


civil action and special proceedings, in this wise:

“a) A civil action is one by which a party sues another for the
enforcement or protection of a right, or the prevention or redress of
a wrong.
A civil action may either be ordinary or special. Both are governed
by the rules for ordinary civil actions, subject to specific rules
prescribed for a special civil action.
xxx
c) A special proceeding is a remedy by which a party seeks to
establish a status, a right or a particular fact.”

As could be gleaned from the foregoing, there lies a marked


distinction between an action and a special proceeding. An action
is a formal demand of one’s right in a court of justice in the
manner prescribed by the court or by the law. It is the method of
applying legal remedies according to definite established rules.

The term “special proceeding” may be defined as an application or


proceeding to establish the status or right of a party, or a particular
fact. Usually, in special proceedings, no formal pleadings are
required unless the statute expressly so provides. In special
proceedings, the remedy is granted generally upon an application
or motion.

It may accordingly be stated generally that actions include those


proceedings which are instituted and prosecuted according to the
ordinary rules and provisions relating to actions at law or suits in
equity, and that special proceedings include those proceedings
which are not ordinary in this sense, but is instituted and
prosecuted according to some special mode as in the case of
proceedings commenced without summons and prosecuted without
regular pleadings, which are characteristics of ordinary actions. A
special proceeding must therefore be in the nature of a distinct and
independent proceeding for particular relief, such as may be
instituted independently of a pending action, by petition or motion
upon notice.
Applying these principles, an action for reconveyance and
annulment of title with damages is a civil action, whereas matters
relating to settlement of the estate of a deceased person such as
advancement of property made by the decedent, partake of the
nature of a special proceeding, which concomitantly requires the
application of specific rules as provided for in the Rules of Court.
Clearly, matters which involve settlement and distribution of the
estate of the decedent fall within the exclusive province of the
probate court in the exercise of its limited jurisdiction.

Thus, under Section 2, Rule 90 of the Rules of Court, questions as


to advancement made or alleged to have been made by the
deceased to any heir may be heard and determined by the court
having jurisdiction of the estate proceedings; and the final order of
the court thereon shall be binding on the person raising the
questions and on the heir.

It is clear that the same provision contemplates a probate court


when it speaks of the “court having jurisdiction of the estate
proceedings.

Corollarily, the Regional Trial Court in the instant case, acting in


its general jurisdiction, is devoid of authority to render an
adjudication and resolve the issue of advancement of the real
property in favor of herein petitioner Natcher, inasmuch as Civil
Case No. 71075 for reconveyance and annulment of title with
damages is not, to our mind, the proper vehicle to thresh out said
question. Moreover, under the present circumstances, the RTC of
Manila, Branch 55 was not properly constituted as a probate court
so as to validly pass upon the question of advancement made by
the decedent Graciano Del Rosario to his wife, herein petitioner
Natcher.

Before a court can make a partition and distribution of the estate of


a deceased, it must first settle the estate in a special proceeding
instituted for the purpose. In the case at hand, the court a quo
determined the respective legitimes of the plaintiffs-appellants and
assigned the subject property owned by the estate of the deceased
to defendant-appellee without observing the proper proceedings
provided (for) by the Rules of Court. From the aforecited
discussions, it is clear that trial courts trying an ordinary action
cannot resolve to perform acts pertaining to a special proceeding
because it is subject to specific prescribed rules. Thus, the court a
quo erred in regarding the subject property as an advance
inheritance.

Although jurisprudence holds that whether a particular matter


should be resolved by the Regional Trial Court (then Court of First
Instance) in the exercise of its general jurisdiction or its limited
probate jurisdiction is not a jurisdictional issue but a mere question
of procedure which may be waived, we do not see any waiver on
the part of herein private respondents inasmuch as the six children
of the decedent even assailed the authority of the trial court, acting
in its general jurisdiction, to rule on this specific issue of
advancement made by the decedent to petitioner.

This Court has consistently enunciated the long standing principle


that although generally, a probate court may not decide a question
of title or ownership, yet if the interested parties are all heirs, or
the question is one of collation or advancement, or the parties
consent to the assumption of jurisdiction by the probate court and
the rights of third parties are not impaired, then the probate court is
competent to decide the question of ownership.

Of equal importance is that before any conclusion about the legal


share due to a compulsory heir may be reached, it is necessary that
certain steps be taken first. The net estate of the decedent must be
ascertained, by deducting all payable obligations and charges from
the value of the property owned by the deceased at the time of his
death; then, all donations subject to collation would be added to it.
With the partible estate thus determined, the legitime of the
compulsory heir or heirs can be established; and only thereafter
can it be ascertained whether or not a donation had prejudiced the
legitimes.

A perusal of the records, specifically the antecedents and


proceedings in the present case, reveals that the trial court failed to
observe established rules of procedure governing the settlement of
the estate of Graciano Del Rosario. A probate court is the best
forum to resolve the issue of advancement and other matters
involving the settlement of estate.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the assailed decision of the


Court of Appeals is hereby AFFIRMED and the instant petition is
DISMISSED for lack of merit.
SO ORDERED.
3. Pacific Banking Corporation Employees Organization v.
CA, 242 SCRA 492

Facts:
This case involves a consolidation of 2 cases involving the same
issue of w/n a petition for liquidation under §29 of the Central
Bank Act is a special proceeding or an ordinary civil action.

Case #1 (30th day)


The Pacific Bank (PB) was placed under receivership by the BSP.
Later, it was placed under liquidation and a Liquidator was
appointed.

The BSP filed a PETITION FOR ASSISTANCE IN THE


LIQUIDATION OF PACIFIC BANK with the RTC. The petition
was approved, after which creditors filed their claims with the
court.

Later, the Union of PB intervened seeking payment of money


claims due PB’s employees. RTC ordered payment of the Union’s
claims.

The Liquidator received a copy of the order on Sept. 16, 1991.


On October 16, 1991, he filed an MR of the order.

RTC denied the MR.


The Liquidator received this denial on Dec. 9, 1991.
On Dec. 10, 1991, he filed a Notice of Appeal and a Motion for
Additional Time to Submit Record on Appeal.

On December 20, 1991, he filed the Record on Appeal.


On December 23, 1991, another Notice of Appeal was filed by the
Office of the Solicitor General in behalf of Nañagas, the liquidator.

RTC disallowed the Notice of Appeal on the ground that it was


filed late, i.e., more than 15 days after receipt of the decision.

Case #2 (23rd day)


Ang and EJ Int’l, stockholders/investors of PB, likewise filed
claims for the payment of obligations owed to them by PB under
the Foreign Investment Law.

The same RTC directed the liquidator to pay the said creditors
investors as preferred creditors.

The Liquidator received the order on September 16, 1992.


On September 30, 1992 he moved for reconsideration, but his
motion was denied by the court.
He received the denial on October 5, 1992.
On October 14, 1992, he filed a Notice of Appeal which the RTC
denied for being filed beyond 15 days.

CA
CA held that:
1. in the case of the Union that the proceeding before the trial court
was a special proceeding and, therefore, the period for appealing
from any decision or final order rendered therein is 30 days. Since
the notice of appeal of the Liquidator was filed on the 30th day of
his receipt of the decision granting the Union’s claims, the appeal
was brought on time.

2. in the case of the Stockholders/Investors that a liquidation


proceeding is an ordinary action. Therefore, the period for
appealing from any decision or final order rendered therein is 15
days and that since the Liquidator’s appeal notice was filed on the
23rd day of his receipt of the order appealed from, deducting the
period during which his motion for reconsideration was pending,
the notice of appeal was filed late.

Hence these petitions.

Issue:
W/N a petition for liquidation under §29 of the Central Bank Act is
a special proceeding or an ordinary civil action - special
proceeding.

Held:
Special proceeding.

The petitions in these cases must be dismissed.

First. As stated in the beginning, the principal question in these


cases is whether a petition for liquidation under §29 of Rep. Act
No. 265 is in the nature of a special proceeding. If it is, then the
period of appeal is 30 days and the party appealing must, in
addition to a notice of appeal, file with the trial court a record on
appeal in order to perfect his appeal. Otherwise, if a liquidation
proceeding is an ordinary action, the period of appeal is 15 days
from notice of the decision or final order appealed from.

Case #1
On case #1, CA held that
1.) since the petition is akin to an interpleader, which is a special
civil action, it may be appealed within 15 days form notice of
judgment or order as in ordinary actions.

2.) the petition for assistance of the court in the liquidation of an


asset of a bank is not “one to establish the status or right of a party
or a particular fact.”

3.) the petition filed is not among the cases categorised as a special
proceeding under Section 1, Rule 72 of the Rules of Court, nor
among the special proceedings that may be appealed under Section
1, Rule 109 of the Rules.

We disagree with the CA.

Rule 2 of the Rules of Court provide:


§1. Action defined.—Action means an ordinary suit in a court of
justice, by which one party prosecutes another for the enforcement
or protection of a right, or the prevention or redress of a wrong.
§2. Special proceeding distinguished.—Every other remedy,
including one to establish the status or right of a party or a
particular fact, shall be by special proceeding.
Action is the act by which one sues another in a court of justice for
the enforcement or protection of a right, or the prevention or
redress of a wrong while special proceeding is the act by which
one seeks to establish the status or right of a party, or a particular
fact. Hence, action is distinguished from special proceeding in that
the former is a formal demand of a right by one against another,
while the latter is but a petition for a declaration of a status, right
or fact. Where a party litigant seeks to recover property from
another, his remedy is to file an action. Where his purpose is to
seek the appointment of a guardian for an insane, his remedy is a
special proceeding to establish the fact or status of insanity calling
for an appointment of guardianship.

Considering this distinction, a petition for liquidation of an


insolvent corporation should be classified a special proceeding and
not an ordinary action. Such petition does not seek the
enforcement or protection of a right nor the prevention or redress
of a wrong against a party. It does not pray for affirmative relief
for injury arising from a party’s wrongful act or omission nor state
a cause of action that can be enforced against any person.

What it seeks is merely a declaration by the trial court of the


corporation’s insolvency so that its creditors may be able to file
their claims in the settlement of the corporation’s debts and
obligations. Put in another way, the petition only seeks a
declaration of the corporation’s state of insolvency and the
concomitant right of creditors and the order of payment of their
claims in the disposition of the corporation’s assets.
Liquidation proceedings do not resemble petitions for interpleader.
For one, an action for interpleader involves claims on a subject
matter against a person who has no interest therein. This is not the
case in a liquidation proceeding where the Liquidator, as
representative of the corporation, takes charge of its assets and
liabilities for the benefit of the creditors. He is thus charged with
insuring that the assets of the corporation are paid only to rightful
claimants and in the order of payment provided by law.

Rather, a liquidation proceeding resembles the proceeding for the


settlement of estate of deceased persons under Rules 73 to 91 of
the Rules of Court. The two have a common purpose: the
determination of all the assets and the payment of all the debts and
liabilities of the insolvent corporation or the estate. The Liquidator
and the administrator or executor are both charged with the assets
for the benefit of the claimants. In both instances, the liability of
the corporation and the estate is not disputed. The court’s concern
is with the declaration of creditors and their rights and the
determination of their order of payment.

Furthermore, as in the settlement of estates, multiple appeals are


allowed in proceedings for liquidation of an insolvent corporation

Case #2
The Liquidator’s notice of appeal was filed on time, having been
filed on the 23rd day of receipt of the order granting the claims of
the Stockholders/Investors. However, the Liquidator did not file a
record on appeal with the result that he failed to perfect his appeal.
As already stated, a record on appeal is required under the Interim
Rules and Guidelines in special proceedings and for cases where
multiple appeals are allowed. The reason for this is that the several
claims are actually separate ones and a decision or final order with
respect to any claim can be appealed.

Because of the Liquidator’s failure to perfect his appeal, the order


granting the claims of the Stockholders/Investors became final.

WHEREFORE, in G.R. No. 109373 and G.R. No. 112991, the


decisions appealed from are AFFIRMED.
SO ORDERED.

Settlement of estate of deceased persons

Rule 73 - Venues and processes

4. Vda De Reyes v. Court of Appeals, 169 SCRA 524 (1989)

Facts:
Respondent administratrix Pilar is the surviving spouse of
Antonio. Petitioner Beatriz, an illegitimate child of the decedent
Antonio, together with 3 other illegitimate sons of Antonio who
are also respondents herein, are the children of Antonio.

The parties herein are the only heirs of the deceased whose estate
was the subject of said settlement proceedings.

In 1958, by virtue of a project of partition approved by the probate


court, the respective shares of the heirs in the real estate left by the
deceased were determined.

Among the real properties in the project of partition is a parcel of


land in Rizal. Its area is stated as 83,781sqm. in the project tot
partition. This statement was repeated in the document four times.
The petitioner did not have a share in the aforesaid parcel of land
because she relinquished her right thereto “in lieu of her bigger
share in Antipolo, Rizal, real estate property.”

In 1973, the respondent administratrix and the other three


distributees filed a MOTION TO REOPEN SPECIAL
PROCEEDINGS No. Q-325 for the purpose of correcting an
alleged typographical error in the description of the parcel of land
since, according to them, the correct land area is 803,781sqm, not
83,781sqm. Petitioner opposed.

RTC granted the motion and corrected the stated area of the parcel
of land.

CA affirmed. Hence this petition.

Issue:
W/N the reopening of the special proceedings and the correction of
the stated area were proper - Yes
Held:
Yes.

It is well settled that even if a decision has become final, clerical


errors or mistakes or omission plainly due to inadvertence or
negligence may be corrected or supplied even after the judgment
has been entered. The correction of a clerical error is an exception
to the general rule that no amendment or correction may be made
by the court in its judgment once the latter had become final. The
court may make this amendment ex parte and, for this purpose, it
may resort to the pleadings filed by the parties, the court’s findings
of facts and its conclusions of law as expressed in the body of the
decision.

According to the petitioner, there was no such clerical error. While


it is not disputed that the area covered by the parcel of land is
803,781sqm., petitioner insists that the area intended by the heirs
of Antonio in the Project of Partition is the area of 83,781, not
803,781sqm.

She claims that she would not have relinquished her share in said
parcel of land if the true area was not fraudulently concealed from
her at the time the project of partition was executed. She further
contends that the fact that the description of the area as 83,781
square meters was repeated several times is sufficient evidence to
show that such was the area intended in the project of partition.

Such contentions are without merit.


That a special proceeding for the settlement of an estate is filed
and intended to settle the entire estate of the deceased is obvious
and elementary. It would be absurd for the heirs to intentionally
exclude or leave a parcel of land or a portion thereof undistributed
or undivided because the proceeding is precisely designed to end
the community of interests in properties held by copartners pro
indiviso without designation or segregation of shares.

It is readily apparent from the project of partition that it was meant


to be, as in fact it is, a full and complete adjudication and partition
of all properties of the estate, necessarily including the entire area
of the subject land.

Thus as perceptively posed by the queries of the respondents, if the


intention of the heirs was to make only a partial adjudication and
distribution of the subject parcel of land, why is it that they did not
make any further disposition of the remaining balance of 720,000
square meters? What sound reason would the heirs have in holding
in suspense the distribution of the difference of 720,000 square
meters?

Besides, petitioner suggests that she and the male heirs could not
see eye to eye because they did not have a common mother. If so,
this supposed antagonism would even be a compelling reason for
the parties to insist on the total partition of all the properties in the
first instance, rather than for them to remain as co-owners for a
long time. As hereinbefore indicated, the project of partition is
dated June 17, 1958, while the motion to re-open the proceedings
was filed only on January 29, 1973.
If we were to indulge petitioner in her stand that 83,781 was the
one intended for distribution, then the irresistible question would
be how and why the parties arrived at that particular latter figure.

On top of this, the assumed area of 83,781 square meters has still
to be divided into fifteen (15) parts to arrive at the aliquot portions
of 12/15 and 1/15 of the other heirs in this particular property.
Why would the parties deliberately create such an unlikely
mathematical situation which would complicate the actual physical
segregation of the area supposed to be distributed?

It is, therefore, a logical and credible explanation that the error in


the figure was a product of clerical oversight. Petitioner has not
offered any plausible contrary explanation. Parenthetically, she had
the assistance of legal counsel in the intestate proceedings and in
the preparation of the project of partition.

WHEREFORE, certiorari is DENIED and the decision of


the respondent court is AFFIRMED. SO ORDERED.

5. Cuenco v. CA, 53 SCRA 360

Facts:
Senator Cuenco died in Manila, survived by his widow
(petitioner) and their children (respondents).

On March 5, 1964, respondents filed a PETITION FOR LETTERS


OF ADMINISTRATION with the CFI of cebu, claiming that
1.) the deceased died intestate in Manila
2.) he was a resident of Cebu at the time of his death
3.) he left properties in Cebu and Quezon City

CFI Cebu set the petition for hearing and ordered that due notice
be given to all the heirs and interested persons, and ordering the
requisite publication thereof at LA PRENSA, a newspaper of
general circulation in the City and Province of Cebu.

CFI Cebu issued another order saying that "It will be premature for
this Court to act thereon, it not having yet regularly acquired
jurisdiction to try this proceeding, the requisite publication of the
notice of hearing not yet having been complied with. Moreover,
copies of the petition have not been served on all of the heirs
specified in the basic petition for the issuance of letters of
administration.”

On March 12, 1964, a week after the filing of the Cebu petition,
Petitioner filed a PETITION FOR PROBATE with CFI Rizal
(Quezon City) for the probate of the deceased’s will and issuance
of letters testamentary in her favor, as the surviving widow and
executrix in the will.

Having learned of the intestate proceeding in the Cebu court,


petitioner Rosa Cayetano Cuenco filed in said Cebu court an
Opposition and Motion to Dismiss, dated March 30.

On 10 April 1964, the Cebu court issued an order holding in


abeyance its resolution on petitioner’s motion to dismiss “until
after the Court of First Instance of Quezon City shall have acted on
the petition for probate of that document purporting to be the last
will and testament of the deceased Don Mariano Jesus Cuenco.

Such order of the Cebu court deferring to the probate proceedings


in the Quezon City court was neither excepted to nor sought by
respondents to be reconsidered or set aside by the Cebu court nor
did they challenge the same by certiorari or prohibition
proceedings in the appellate courts.

Instead, respondents filed in the Quezon City court an Opposition


and Motion to Dismiss, dated 10 April 1964, opposing probate of
the will and assailing the jurisdiction of the said Quezon City court
to entertain petitioner’s petition for probate and for appointment as
executrix in Sp. Proc. No. Q7898 in view of the alleged exclusive
jurisdiction vested by her petition in the Cebu court in Sp. Proc.
No. 2433-R. Said respondent prayed that the QC proceeding be
dismissed for lack of jurisdiction and/or improper venue.

QC court denied the MTD, giving as a principal reason the


“precedence of probate proceeding over an intestate proceeding,”
and also because it found that the deceased’s residence at the time
of his death was in QC.

QC court also held that: the deceased’s will shows that the
decedent at the time when he executed his Last Will clearly stated
that he is a resident of QC, and also of Cebu City. He made the
former as his first choice and the latter as his second choice of
residence. If a party has two residences, the one will be deemed or
presumed to be his domicile which he himself selects or considers
to be his home or which appears to be the center of his affairs. The
petitioner, in thus filing the instant petition before this Court,
follows the first choice of residence of the decedent and once this
court acquires jurisdiction of the probate proceeding it is to the
exclusion of all others.

QC court admitted the will to probate.

Instead of appealing, respondents filed a SCA with the CA.

CA granted the petition holding that CFI Cebu acquired


jurisdiction over the subject matter to the exclusion of CFI QC.

Issue:
W/N CFI Cebu acquired jurisdiction over the estate proceedings to
the exclusion of CFI Rizal (QC) - No.

Held:
No.

The Court finds under the above-cited facts that the appellate court
erred in law in issuing the writ of prohibition against the Quezon
City court from proceeding with the testate proceedings.

1. The Judiciary Act concededly confers original jurisdiction upon


all Courts of First Instance over “all matters of probate, both of
testate and intestate estates.” On the other hand, Rule 73, section of
the Rules of Court lays down the rule of venue, as the very caption
of the Rule indicates, and in order to prevent conflict among the
different courts which otherwise may properly assume; jurisdiction
from doing so, the Rule specifies that “the court first taking
cognisance of the settlement of the estate of a decedent, shall
exercise jurisdiction to the exclusion of all other courts.”

It is equally conceded that the residence of the deceased or the


location of his estate is not an element of jurisdiction over the
subject matter but merely of venue.

It should be noted that the Rule on venue does not state that the
court with whom the estate or intestate petition is first filed
acquires exclusive jurisdiction.

The Rule precisely and deliberately provides that “the court first
taking cognisance of the settlement of the estate of a decedent,
shall exercise jurisdiction to the exclusion of all other courts.”

A fair reading of the Rule—since it deals with venue and comity


between courts of equal and co-ordinate jurisdiction —indicates
that the court with whom the petition is first filed, must also first
take cognisance of the settlement of the estate in order to exercise
jurisdiction over it to the exclusion of all other courts.

Conversely, such court, may upon learning that a petition for


probate of the decedent’s last will has been presented in another
court where the decedent obviously had his conjugal domicile and
resided with his surviving widow and their minor children, and
that the allegation of the intestate petition before it stating that the
decedent died intestate may be actually false, may decline to take
cognisance of the petition and hold the petition before it in
abeyance, and instead defer to the second court which has before it
the petition for probate of the decedent’s alleged last will.

2. This is exactly what the Cebu court did. Upon petitioner


widow’s filing with it a motion to dismiss Lourdes’ intestate
petition, it issued its order holding in abeyance its action on the
dismissal motion and deferred to the Quezon City court, awaiting
its action on the petition for probate before that court.

Implicit in the Cebu court’s order was that if the will was duly
admitted to probate by the Quezon City court, then it would
definitely decline to take cognisance of Lourdes’ intestate petition
which would thereby be shown to be false and improper, and leave
the exercise of jurisdiction to the Quezon City court, to the
exclusion of all other courts.

Likewise by its act of deference, the Cebu court left it to the


Quezon City court to resolve the question between the parties
whether the decedent’s residence at the time of his death was in
Quezon City where he had his conjugal domicile rather than in
Cebu City as claimed by respondents.

The Cebu court thus indicated that it would decline to take


cognisance of the intestate petition before it and instead defer to
the Quezon City court, unless the latter would make a negative
finding as to the probate petition and the residence of the decedent
within its territory and venue.

3. Under these facts, the Cebu court could not be held to have
acted without jurisdiction or with grave abuse of jurisdiction in
declining to take cognizance of the intestate petition and deferring
to the Quezon City court.

Necessarily, neither could the Quezon City court be deemed to


have acted without jurisdiction in taking cognizance of and acting
on the probate petition since under Rule 73, section 1, the Cebu
court must first take cognizance over the estate of the decedent and
must exercise jurisdiction to exclude all other courts, which the
Cebu court declined to do. Furthermore, as is undisputed, said rule
only lays down a rule of venue and the Quezon City court
indisputably had at least equal and coordinate jurisdiction over the
estate.

Since the Quezon City court took cognisance over the probate
petition before it and assumed jurisdiction over the estate, with the
consent and deference of the Cebu court, the Quezon City court
should be left now, by the same rule of venue of said Rule 73, to
exercise jurisdiction to the exclusion of all other courts.

4. Uriarte v. CFI case: In accordance with settled jurisprudence in


this jurisdiction, testate proceedings for the settlement of the estate
of a deceased person take precedence over intestate proceedings
for the same purpose. Thus it has been held repeatedly that, if in
the course of intestate proceedings pending before a court of first
instance it is found that the decedent had left a last will,
proceedings for the the probate of the latter should replace the
intestate proceedings. It is well settled in this jurisdiction that
wrong venue is merely a waivable procedural defect.

5. The Quezon City court’s assumption of jurisdiction over the


decedent’s estate on the basis of the will duly presented for probate
by petitioner widow and finding that Quezon City was the first
choice of residence of the decedent, who had his conjugal home
and domicile therein—with the deference in comity duly given by
the Cebu court—could not be contested except by appeal from said
court in the original case.

The exception therein given, viz, “when the want of jurisdiction


appears on the record” could probably be properly invoked, had
such deference in comity of the Cebu court to the Quezon City
court not appeared in the record, or had the record otherwise
shown that the Cebu court had taken cognisance of the petition
before it and assumed jurisdiction.

6. The QC Court had authority to determine where the residence of


the deceased was. The Cebu court declined to take cognizance of
the intestate petition first filed with it and deferred to the testate
proceedings filed with the Quezon City court and in effect asked
the Quezon City court to determine the residence of the decedent
and whether he did leave a last will and testament upon which
would depend the proper venue of the estate proceedings, Cebu or
Quezon City. The Quezon City court having thus determined in
effect for both courts—at the behest and with the deference and
consent of the Cebu court—that Quezon City was the actual
residence of the decedent who died testate and therefore the proper
venue, the Borja ruling would seem to have no applicability.

7. It must be remembered that this Court is not inclined to annul


proceedings regularly had in a lower court even if the latter was
not the proper venue therefor, if the net result would be to have the
same proceedings repeated in some other court of similar
jurisdiction.

8. If the question of jurisdiction were to be made to depend only on


who of the decedent’s relatives gets first to file a petition for
settlement of the decedent’s estate, then the established
jurisprudence of the Court that Rule 73, section 1 provides only a
rule of venue in order to preclude different courts which may
properly assume jurisdiction from doing so and creating conflicts
between them to the detriment of the administration of justice, and
that venue is waivable, would be set at naught. As between
relatives who unfortunately do not see eye to eye, it would be
converted into a race as to who can file the petition faster in the
court of his/her choice, regardless of whether the decedent is still
in cuerpo presente and in disregard of the decedent’s actual last
domicile, the fact that he left a last will and testament and the right
of his surviving widow named as executrix thereof. Such dire
consequences were certainly not intended by the Rule nor would
they be in consonance with public policy and the orderly
administration of justice.

The Court therefore holds under the facts of record that the Cebu
court did not act without jurisdiction nor with grave abuse of
discretion in declining to take cognizance of the intestate petition
and instead deferring to the testate proceedings filed just a week
later by petitioner as surviving widow and designated executrix of
the decedent’s last will, since the record before it (the petitioner’s
opposition and motion to dismiss) showed the falsity of the
allegation in the intestate petition that the decedent had died
without a will. It is noteworthy that respondents never challenged
by certiorari or prohibition proceedings the Cebu court’s order of
10 April 1964 deferring to the probate proceedings before the
Quezon City court/thus leaving the latter free (pursuant to the
Cebu court’s order of deference) to exercise jurisdiction and admit
the decedent’s will to probate.

For the same reasons, neither could the Quezon City court be held
to have acted without jurisdiction nor with grave abuse of
discretion in admitting the decedent’s will to probate and
appointing petitioner as executrix in accordance with its
testamentary disposition, in the light of the settled doctrine that the
provisions of Rule 73, section 1 lay down only a rule of venue, not
of jurisdiction.

ACCORDINGLY, judgment is hereby rendered reversing the


appealed decision and resolution of the Court of Appeals and the
petition for certiorari and prohibition with preliminary injunction
originally filed by respondents with the Court of Appeals (CA-
G.R. No. 34104-R) is ordered dismissed. No costs.
6. Fule v. CA, 74 SCRA 189 (1976)

Facts:
These two interrelated cases bring to Us the question of what the
word “resides” in Section 1, Rule 73 of the Revised Rules of
Court, referring to the situs of the settlement of the estate of
deceased persons, means.

Fule filed with CFI Laguna a PETITION FOR LETTERS OF


ADMINISTRATION alleging that, Amado Garcia, a property
owner of Laguna, died intestate in Manila, leaving properties in
Laguna and in other places. Fule moved ex parte for her
appointment as special administratrix over the estate.

Preciosa Garcia filed an MR claiming that CFI Laguna’s order


reappointing Fule was issued without jurisdiction since no notice
of the petition for letters of administration has been served upon all
persons interested in the estate; she should be preferred in the
appointment of a special administratrix; and, Virginia G. Fule is a
debtor of the estate of Amado G. Garcia. Preciosa B. Garcia,
therefore, prayed that she be appointed special administratrix of
the estate, in lieu of Virginia G. Fule, and as regular administratrix
after due hearing.

While the MR was pending, Garcia filed a motion to remove Fule


as administratrix alleging, aside from the jurisdictional ground,
that her appointment was obtained through misleading/erroneous
misrepresentations.
In the meantime, the notice of hearing of the petition for letters of
administration filed by Fule was published in a newspaper of
general circulation.

Fule then filed a SUPPLEMENTAL PETITION FOR THE


APPOINTMENT OF REGULAR ADMINISTRATOR. This
supplemental petition modified the original petition in four
aspects:
(1) the allegation that during the lifetime of the deceased Amado
G. Garcia, he was elected as Constitutional Delegate for the First
District of Laguna and his last place of residence was at Calamba,
Laguna;
(2) the deletion of the names of Preciosa B. Garcia and Agustina
Garcia as legal heirs of Amado G. Garcia;
(3) the allegation that Carolina Carpio, who was simply listed as
heir in the original petition, is the surviving spouse of Amado G.
Garcia and that she has expressly renounced her preferential right
to the administration of the estate in favor of Virginia G. Fule; and
(4) that Virginia G, Fule be appointed as the regular administratrix.

The admission of this supplemental petition was opposed by


Preciosa B. Garcia for the reason, among others, that it attempts to
confer jurisdiction on the Court of First Instance of Laguna, of
which the court was not possessed at the beginning because the
original petition was deficient.

Garcia filed an opposition to the original and supplemental


petitions for letters of administration, raising the issues of
jurisdiction and venue.
CFI Laguna denied Garcia’s MR and admitted Fule’s supplemental
petition.

Garcia moved to dismiss the petition, because (1) jurisdiction over


the petition or over the parties in interest has not been acquired by
the court; (2) venue was improperly laid.

During the hearing of the various incidents of this case before


Judge Malvar. Fule presented the death certificate of Amado G.
Garcia showing that his residence at the time of his death was
Quezon City.

On her part, Garcia presented the residence certificate of the


decedent for 1973 showing that three months before his death his
residence was in Quezon City.

Fule also testified that Amado G. Garcia was residing in Calamba,


Laguna at the time of his death, and that he was a delegate to the
1971 Constitutional Convention for the first district of Laguna.

CA annulled the proceedings before CFI Laguna for lack of


jurisdiction.

However, even before Virginia G, Fule could receive the decision


of the Court of Appeals, Preciosa B. Garcia had already filed on
February 1, 1975 a petition for letters of administration before the
Court of First Instance of Rizal, Quezon City Branch, over the
same intestate estate of Amado Garcia.
Issue:
W/N CFI Laguna was the proper venue - No

Held:
No.

Section 1, Rule 73 of the Revised Rules of Court provides: “If the


decedent is an inhabitant of the Philippines at the time of his death,
whether a citizen or an alien, his will shall be proved, or letters of
administration granted, and his estate settled in the Court of First
Instance in the province in which he resides at the time of his
death, and if he is an inhabitant of a foreign country, the Court of
First Instance of any province in which he had estate.

Rule 79 of the Revised Rules of Court demands that the petition


therefor should affirmatively show the existence of jurisdiction to
make the appointment sought, and should allege all the necessary
facts, such as death, the name and last residence of the decedent,
the existence, and situs if need be, of assets, intestacy, where this is
relied upon, and the right of the person who seeks administration,
as next of kin, creditor, or otherwise, to be appointed. The fact of
death of the intestate and his last residence within the country are
foundation facts upon which all subsequent proceedings in the
administration of the estate rest, and that if the intestate was not an
inhabitant of the state at the time of his death, and left no assets in
the state, no jurisdiction is conferred on the court to grant letters of
administration.
§1, Rule 73, specifically the clause “so far as it depends on the
place of residence of the decedent, or of the location of the estate,”
is in reality a matter of venue, as the caption of the Rule indicates:
“Settlement of Estate of Deceased Persons, Venue and Processes.”

It could not have been intended to define the jurisdiction over the
subject matter, because such legal provision is contained in a law
of procedure dealing merely with procedural matters. Procedure is
one thing; jurisdiction over the subject matter is another. The
power or authority of the court over the subject matter “existed and
was fixed before procedure in a given cause began.” That power or
authority is not altered or changed by procedure, which simply
directs the manner in which the power or authority shall be fully
and justly exercised. There are cases though that if the power is not
exercised conformably with the provisions of the procedural law,
purely, the court attempting to exercise it loses the power to
exercise it legally. However, this does not amount to a loss of
jurisdiction over the subject matter. Rather, it means that the court
may thereby lose jurisdiction over the person or that the judgment
may thereby be rendered defective for lack of something essential
to sustain it. The appearance of this provision in the procedural law
at once raises a strong presumption that it has nothing to do with
the jurisdiction of the court over the subject matter. In plain words,
it is just a matter of method, of convenience to the parties.

The Judiciary Act of 1948, as amended, confers upon Courts of


First Instance jurisdiction over all probate cases independently of
the place of residence of the deceased. Because of the existence of
numerous Courts of First Instance in the country, the Rules of
Court, however, purposely fixes the venue or the place where each
case shall be brought. A fortiori, the place of residence of the
deceased in settlement of estates, probate of will, and issuance of
letters of administration does not constitute an element of
jurisdiction over the subject matter. It is merely constitutive of
venue. And it is upon this reason that the Revised Rules of Court
properly considers the province where the estate of a deceased
person shall be settled as “venue.”

2. But, the far-ranging question is this: What does the term


“resides” mean? Does it refer to the actual residence or domicile of
the decedent at the time of his death? We lay down the doctrinal
rule that the term “resides” connotes ex vi termini “actual
residence” as distinguished from “legal residence or domicile.”

This term “resides,” like the terms “residing” and “residence,” is


elastic and should be interpreted in the light of the object or
purpose of the statute or rule in which it is employed.

In the application of venue statutes and rules—Section 1, Rule 73


of the Revised Rules of Court is of such nature—residence rather
than domicile is the significant factor. Even where the statute uses
the word “domicile” still it is construed as meaning residence and
not domicile in the technical sense. Some cases make a distinction
between the terms “residence” and “domicile” but as generally
used in statutes fixing venue, the terms are synonymous, and
convey the same meaning as the term “inhabitant.” In other words,
“resides” should be viewed or understood in its popular sense,
meaning, the personal, actual or physical habitation of a person,
actual residence or place of abode. It signifies physical presence in
a place and actual stay thereat. In this popular sense, the term
means merely residence, that is, personal residence, not legal
residence or domicile.

Residence simply requires bodily presence as an inhabitant in a


given place, while domicile requires bodily presence in that place
and also an intention to make it one’s domicile. No particular
length of time of residence is required though; however, the
residence must be more than temporary.

3. Fule claims in her original petition that Amado Garcia was a


property owner of Laguna, died in Manila, leaving properties in
Laguna.

Garcia, on the other hand, avers no domicile or residence of the


deceased Amado G. Garcia. To say that as “property owner of
Calamba, Laguna,” he also resides in Calamba, Laguna, is,
according to her, non sequitur. On the contrary, Preciosa B. Garcia
claims that, as appearing in his death certificate presented by
Virginia G. Fule herself before the Calamba court and in other
papers, the last residence of Amado G. Garcia was in Quezon City.

On this issue, We rule that the last place of residence of the


deceased Amado G. Garcia was in Quezon City, not Laguna.

A death certificate is admissible to prove the residence of the


decedent at the time of his death. As it is, the death certificate of
Amado G. Garcia, which was presented in evidence by Virginia G.
Fule herself and also by Preciosa B. Garcia, shows that his last
place of residence was at 11 Carmel Avenue, Carmel Subdivision,
Quezon City. Aside from this, other reliable documentary evidence
were presented to support this.

Nevertheless, the long-settled rule is that objection to improper


venue is subject to waiver. Section 4, Rule 4 of the Revised Rules
of Court states: “When improper venue is not objected to in a
motion to dismiss, it is deemed waived.” In the case before Us the
Court of Appeals had reason to hold that in asking to substitute
Virginia G. Fule as special administratrix, Preciosa B. Garcia did
not necessarily waive her objection to the jurisdiction or venue
assumed by the Court of First Instance of Calamba, Laguna, but
availed of a mere practical resort to alternative remedy to assert
her rights as surviving spouse, while insisting on the enforcement
of the Rule fixing the proper venue of the proceedings at the last
residence of the decedent.

Under these circumstances and the doctrine laid down in Cuenco


vs. Court of Appeals, this Court under its supervisory authority
over all inferior courts may properly decree that venue in the
instant case was properly assumed by and transferred to Quezon
City and that it is in the interest of justice and avoidance of
needless delay that the Quezon City court’s exercise of jurisdiction
over the settlement of the estate of the deceased Amado G. Garcia
and the appointment of special administratrix over the latter’s
estate be approved and authorized and the Court of First Instance
of Laguna be disauthorized from continuing with the case and
instead be required to transfer all the records thereof to the Court
of First Instance of Quezon City for the continuation of the
proceedings.

IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the petitions of petitioner


Virginia Garcia Fule in G.R. No. L-40502 and in G.R. No. L-
42670 are hereby denied, with costs against petitioner.
SO ORDERED.

7. Reyes v. Mosqueda, 187 SCRA 661 (1990)

Facts:
Dr. Pascual died intestate without issue survived by his sister
Ursula and the children of said sister (heirs).

The heirs filed a case for the administration of Dr. Pascual’s estate
before CFI Pampanga. San Juan was appointed as special
administrator.

The heirs filed a motion to exclude some properties from the


inventory of Pascual’s estate and to deliver the titles to Ursula,
claiming that Pascual during his lifetime executed a Donation
Mortis Causa in her favor covering the said properties sought to be
excluded.

CFI granted the motion, and excluded the properties without


prejudice to its final determination in a separate action.

Among the properties included in the donation mortis cause was a


parcel of land which is the subject of this case.

The records show that Dr. Pascual executed a donation inter vivos
over the said lot in Manila in favor of Parungao. When Parungao
reached the age of majority, she tried to have the donation
registered. However, she found out that the certificate of title was
missing from where it was supposed to be kept, prompting her to
file a petition for reconstitution of title with CFI Manila. The
petition was granted and the donation and title were registered in
her name.

She then filed a motion for exclusion of the said property before
the CFI Pampanga.

In the meantime, Ursula sold the lot to the Reyeses.

The Reyeses filed a complaint for declaration of nullity of the TCT


covering the land and to reconvey the title to them.

The cases were consolidated. CFI Manila annulled the TCT. CA


affirmed.

Issue:
W/N the probate court CFI Pampanga had jurisdiction to exclude
the properties donated to Ursula - Yes

Held:
Yes.
We first discuss the issue on jurisdiction. The questioned order of
the then Court of First Instance of Pampanga in S.P. Proc. No. 73-
30-M categorically stated that the exclusion from the inventory of
the estate of the deceased Dr. Emilio D. Pascual was “without
prejudice to its final determination in a separate action.” The
provisional character of the exclusion of the contested properties in
the inventory as stressed in the order is within the jurisdiction of
the probate court.

It is well-settled rule that a probate court or one in charge of


proceedings whether testate or intestate cannot adjudicate or
determine title to properties claimed to be a part of the estate and
which are equally claimed to belong to outside parties. All that the
said court could do as regards said properties is to determine
whether they should or should not be included in the inventory or
list of properties to be administered by the administrator. If there is
no dispute, well and good; but if there is, then the parties, the
administrator, and the opposing parties have to resort to an
ordinary action for a final determination of the conflicting claims
of title because the probate court cannot do so.

For the purpose of determining whether a certain property should


or should not be included in the inventory, the probate court may
pass upon the title thereto but such determination is not conclusive
and is subject to the final decision in a separate action regarding
ownership which may be instituted by the parties.
8. Pio Barretto Realty Development, Inc. v. CA, 131 SCRA
606(1984)

Facts:
The proceedings for the settlement of the estate of Drepin were
initiated shortly after his death on July 29, 1972 with the filing of a
petition for probate of his holographic will on August 23, 1972.

In his will, Drepin listed 22 persons as his alleged creditors, and


within the 6 months after publication within which to file claims
agains the estate, 12 persons filed their respective claims. The total
amount of obligations that may be chargeable against the estate is
P1.3M

The only assets of the estate consisted of 3 parcels of registered


land, and 1 land still pending registration.

The estate is saddled with claims of creditors named in the Drepin


will and creditors who have filed their claims within the
reglementary period. The only way to pay their claims is to sell the
Drepin lots, so that from the proceeds of the sale, the debts of the
estate could be paid, and any remaining balance distributed to the
Drepin heirs.

Since the filing of the petition for probate, 9 offers had been made
for the purchase of the Drepin lands. Among the offers is that of
GM Management through its President Moslares, the basis of
which is a deed of sale with mortgage allegedly executed by
Drepin in 1970. It appears from the deed that the deceased had
sold 80ha of land for P2.6M. The parties further agreed not to
register the sale yet until P1,300,000.00 shall have been paid to
Drepin and P1,000,000.00 paid to Drepin’s creditors.

It also appears that, before his death, Drepin and Moslares entered
into a “Joint Venture Agreement”. Said agreement listed Drepin as
the registered “owner” of the lots and denominated Moslares as
“developer” tasked with converting the lands into a residential
subdivision.

Before the agreement could be implemented however, Drepin died.

Upon learning of the existence of the Special Proceedings, herein


respondent Moslares informed the Judicial Administrator Atty.
Tomas Trinidad that he is already the owner of the properties made
subject matter of the Special Proceedings and proposed that he be
permitted to pay the balance on the sale with mortgage in
accordance with the terms of his written proposal. The probate
court, on August 17, 1978 issued an order approving respondent
Moslares’ proposal with the condition that GM Management Phils.
had only up to February 28, 1979 to comply with its letter-offer
dated August 15, 1978 and “failure on their part to comply with
the same within the period specified, the contract with the
decedent shall be deemed resolved and ineffective.”

Heir-claimant Cornelia Tejano was likewise given up to said date


to make and submit a more beneficial offer. Neither GM
Management nor counsel for Tejano was able to perform as
required.
Meanwhile, on Sept. 25, 1979, Moslares and the Administrator
entered into a Deed of Undertaking which provided for the mode
of payment which Moslares was to follow as well as the clearing
of the transfer of the titles in the name of Moslares. Approval of
the agreement with Moslares was strongly urged by the
Administrator. No action was taken by the court thereon.

At the hearing, Moslares tendered P1,600,000.00 to the Judicial


Administrator. This was opposed by Tejano on the ground that
respondent Moslares had only until February 28, 1979 within
which to pay the same. Tejano thereupon brought to the attention
of the court an offer to buy the properties for P3,000,000.00 by
herein petitioner Pio Barretto Realty Development, Inc.

The probate court authorised the administrator to finalise the sale


with GM Management and gave Moslares 10 days to deposit the
necessary amount to cover the value of the checks as each falls
due. Failure to do so would result in the automatic rescission of
the authority to sell to GM Management Phils. and the
Administrator would be permitted to accept other offers in the best
interest of the Estate.

Moslares defaulted on the payment (his checks bounced) so the


court authorised the administrator to enter into agreement with any
other interested parties on a first paid fir served basis. His MR was
denied.

Later, Moslares filed a civil case before CFI Pasig to determine


title and ownership over the Drepin lands.

Moslares filed and obtained a TRO from the CA.

Hence this petition by Pio Barretto Development.

Issues:
1. W/N the probate court erred in refusing to exclude the Drepin
lands from the testate proceedings of the Drepin estate - No.
2. W/N the probate court had jurisdiction to rescind the authority
of the administrator to sell the Drepin lands to Moslares - Yes

Held:

1. No.

For continually presuming that the three titled lots were part of the
Drepin estate and for refusing to provisionally pass upon the
question of exclusion, did the respondent court act without or in
excess of jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion?

We hold that even with such presumption and refusal, the probate
court still acted within its jurisdiction and not with grave abuse of
discretion. After all, the jurisprudence and rule are both to the
effect that the probate court ‘may’ provisionally pass upon the
question of exclusion, not ‘should’.

The obvious reason is the probate court’s limited jurisdiction and


the principle that questions of title or ownership, which result to
inclusion in or exclusion from the inventory of the property, can
only be settled in a separate action.

Hence, even if the probate court presumed all the way that the
properties sold by Drepin to petitioner were part of Drepin’s estate,
that would not prevent nor defeat petitioner’s remedy in a separate
suit.

We hold that the instituted Civil Case No. 41287 is just such a suit
instituted to settle the question of ownership over the lots, despite
the claim for damages, because of the composite effect of the
prayer in the complaint thereof.

The question of whether the properties sold by Drepin to


Moslares should be excluded from the probate proceedings
below, cannot be determined with finality by the CA in this
case, because any ruling by the probate court to include those
properties ‘is only provisional in character and is without
prejudice to a judgment in a separate action on the issue of
title or ownership’.

Consequently, in reviewing the exercise of such limited probate


jurisdiction. As correctly done, the CA cannot order an
unqualified and final exclusion of the properties involved, as
prayed for; to do so would expand the probate court’s
jurisdiction beyond the perimeters set by law and
jurisprudence. It is fitting and proper that this issue be
ventilated and finally resolved in the already instituted Civil
Case No. 41287, even as We hold that the probate court’s act of
not excluding the lots involved did not constitute grave abuse
of discretion.

2. Yes. Moslares is in estoppel. Also, the probate court here did not
rescind the deed of sale between Drepin and Moslares which it
cannot do, rather, what it did was rescind the authority to sell of
the administrator which, as probate court, was well within its
powers.

Moslares assails the issuance of the 4 impugned orders of the


probate court on the ground that the court had no jurisdiction to
rescind the Deed of Sale with the Mortgage entered into by the
deceased during his lifetime, due to the limited jurisdiction of the
probate court merely to settle and liquidate the estates of a
decedent and not to pass upon questions of title to property.

On the other hand, the petitioner argues that in voiding and


nullifying the four orders of the probate court, the Court of
Appeals, in effect, would have the former court recognize the
alleged ownership of Mr. Moslares over the three titled Drepin lots
involved in this case contrary to its pronouncement in settling the
first issue.

It is to be noted that the last agreement entered into by the


deceased prior to his death, that is, the Joint Venture Agreement
listing Drepin as owner of the properties in question, and the
surrender to administrator Trinidad of the certificates of title, had
led the probate court to enter or include said properties in its
inventory of the deceased’s estate. Thus, provisionally, ownership
thereof was recognised as vested in the estate.

Subsequently, in the course of the probate proceedings, the sale of


the properties was found to be necessary to settle the deceased’s
obligations. It was then that herein private respondent Moslares
submitted himself to the jurisdiction of the court in an “Offer to
Buy” said properties, based on his previous agreement with the
deceased during the latter’s lifetime.

It is noteworthy that contrary to Moslares’ assertion of ownership,


he had offered to buy the Drepin lands from the probate court.
Surely, this is not conduct ordinarily expected of one who is the
owner of the property. Further, the fact that subsequent to the Deed
of Sale, the deceased as buyer and as absolute owner entered into
an agreement with the respondent merely as developer of the lands
in question evidences a change of cause or object as well as a
change of relation between the parties. Moslares’ own acts negate
his claims in this petition that he had acquired ownership of the
properties. Thus, the transparency of respondent’s argument
becomes readily apparent.

Moslares was given preference and priority over other persons or


groups offering to buy the estate. Having failed to comply with the
conditions of payment of the contract, the same was rescinded by
the probate court. Now, respondent questions this rescission which
he maintains to be beyond the jurisdiction of the court.

Estoppel works to preclude respondent from questioning the


jurisdiction of the court. By offering to buy the properties in
question, respondent has clearly recognized the jurisdiction of the
probate court to which he had effectively submitted himself. It is
well settled that a party is estopped from disputing the jurisdiction
of the court after invoking it himself. After voluntarily submitting
a cause and encountering an adverse decision on the merits, it is
too late for the loser to question the jurisdiction or power of the
court.

It cannot but be conceded that the limited jurisdiction of a probate


court prohibits it from determining rights to property left by a
decedent which depends on the contract. However, actions of the
probate court, in the case at bar, do not refer to the adjudication of
rights under the contract entered into by the deceased during his
lifetime. It is to be noted that the dealings of the respondent with
the court arose out of the latter’s bid to sell property under its
authority to sell, mortgage or otherwise encumber property of the
estate to pay or settle claims against the estate. Thus, respondent
bound himself under an agreement with the court separate and
distinct from that which he had with the decedent. In rescinding
such contract, the court merely seeks to enforce its right to put an
end to an agreement which had ceased to be a working proposition.
Surely, this is well within the power of the probate court. Though
of limited and special jurisdiction, it cannot be denied, however,
that when the law confers jurisdiction upon a court, the latter is
deemed to have all the necessary powers to exercise such
jurisdiction to make it effective.

We cannot allow an absurd situation to arise where the Drepin


estate will never be settled and liquidated because even if Moslares
cannot pay the agreed purchase price of the Drepin lands, still the
probate court can no longer sell the lands to other prospective
buyers. Under the theory of respondent, it is insisted that the
probate court has no authority to cancel his unfulfilled offer to buy,
notwithstanding the fact that he failed miserably to comply with
the terms of his own offer to buy.

It is also to be emphasized that it was not respondent’s contract of


sale with decedent that had been invalidated but rather the
administrator’s authority to sell to respondent. Although the court
recognized the Deed of Sale with Mortgage, still the same was not
being enforced as such but was used only as basis for the terms
and conditions of respondent’s agreement with the court. To
enforce the same is truly beyond the scope of the probate court’s
jurisdiction. The court’s actions constitute a refusal to pass upon
the validity of the contract to sell.

Further, the probate court has ample discretion in determining


whether conditions of a particular sale would be beneficial to the
estate and this is generally respected by the appellate courts. To
attack the nullity of the order of the probate court to sell property
of the deceased, it must be shown that the contract of sale is null
and void. The infirmity of the subject deed of sale is premised on
the alleged nullity of the order of the court authorizing the sale.
The validity of said order may not be attacked in a collateral
proceeding, the supposed ground for declaring it void for lack of
jurisdiction not being apparent on the face thereof. Nevertheless,
respondent could have prevented the sale of the Drepin lands.
Moreover, the respondent is not without remedy if truly his claim
of ownership is proper and meritorious. Since the probate court has
no jurisdiction over the question of title and ownership of the
properties, the respondents may bring a separate action if they
wish to question the petitioner’s titles and ownership. Though an
order of the probate court approving the sale of the decedent’s
property is final, the respondent may file a complaint in the proper
court for the rescission of the sale.

WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the petition for certiorari


is hereby GRANTED.

9. Coca v. Borromeo, 81 SCRA 278 (1978)

Facts:
Spouses Juan Pangilinan and Teresa Magtuba died intestate in
1943 and 1948, respectively. They possessed a homestead
consisting of 2 lots.
Lot 1 of 4has was in the name of Juan in Misamis Occidental.
Lot 2 of 18has is in the name of the Heirs of Juan.
According to the heirs, a 3rd lot of 8has also forms part of the
estate of the spouses.

Estate proceedings were instituted in Misamis Occidental for the


settlement of the estate of the deceased spouses.
The administrator presented a project of partition dividing the lots
among Crispin, Francisco, Prima and Concepcion. It gave
Francisco 5 hectares only.

Francisco opposed the project of partition arguing, among others,


that:
1. it contravened the lower court’s order which recognised the right
of the heirs of Francisco Pangilinan to a 12-hectare portion of Lot
2.
2. Prima Pangilinan, who sold her share to Francisco Pangilinan,
should be excluded from the partition.
3. the total share of Francisco Pangilinan in Lot No. 1112 is
12.6720 hectares, while that of the heirs of Concepcion Pangilinan
is 6.3360 hectares

The lower court ordered the administrator to pay the debt of the
estate to Concepcion Pangilinan. It deferred action on the project
of partition until the ownership of the 12hectares, which were
claimed by the heirs of Francisco Pangilinan, and the 6hectares,
which were claimed by Crispin Borromeo (eighteen hectares in all
which were excluded from the inventory in the court’s order of
December 6, 1963) is determined in an ordinary action.

Francisco filed a supplemental opposition asking that Lot 3 be


included in the project of partition. The lower court apparently
acting on its own volition, tackled once more the project of
partition. After noting that no separate action had been filed to
determine the ownership of the twelve hectares, it issued an order
approving the project of partition but excluding the 12hectares
claimed by Francisco Pangilinan.

That order on its face appears to be incomplete because, after


excluding the twelve hectares, the lower court did not bother to
decide how the remainder should be partitioned and whether Prima
Pangilinan had a share in that remainder.

The administrator, Filomeno Coca, Prima Pangilinan and the heirs


of Concepcion Pangilinan contend that the lower court, as a
probate court, has no jurisdiction to decide the ownership of the
twelve-hectare portion of Lot No. 1112.

On the other hand, the appellees or the heirs of Francisco


Pangilinan counter that the lower court did not decide the
ownership of the 12hectares when it ordered their exclusion from
the project of partition. So, the problem is how the title to the
12hectares should be decided, whether in a separate action or in
the intestate proceeding.

Issue:
W/N ownership over the 12 hectare portion should be decided in a
separate action or in the intestate proceeding - in the intestate
proceedings

Held:
in the intestate proceeding.

It should be clarified that whether a particular matter should be


resolved by the Court of First Instance in the exercise of its general
jurisdiction or of its limited probate jurisdiction is in reality not a
jurisdictional question. In essence, it is a procedural question
involving a mode of practice “which may be waived”.

As a general rule, the question as to title to property should not be


passed upon in the testate or intestate proceeding. That question
should be ventilated in a separate action.

That general rule has qualifications or exceptions justified by


expediency and convenience. Thus, the probate court may
provisionally pass upon in an intestate or testate proceeding the
question of inclusion in, or exclusion from, the inventory of a
piece of property without prejudice to its final determination in a
separate action.

Although generally, a probate court may not decide a question of


title or ownership, yet if
1. the interested parties are all heirs, or
2. the question is one of collation or advancement, or
3. the parties consent to the assumption of jurisdiction by the
probate court and the rights of third parties are not impaired, then
the probate court is competent to decide the question of ownership.

We hold that the instant case may be treated as an exception to the


general rule that questions of title should be ventilated in a
separate action.

Here, the probate court had already received evidence on the


ownership of the twelve-hectare portion during the hearing of the
motion for its exclusion from the inventory. The only interested
parties are the heirs who have all appeared in the intestate
proceeding.

As pointed out by the appellees, they belong to the poor stratum of


society. They should not be forced to incur additional expenses
(such as filing fees) by bringing a separate action to determine the
ownership of the twelve- hectare portion.

The just, expeditious and inexpensive solution is to require the


heirs of Francisco Pangilinan to file in the intestate proceeding a
motion in the form of a complaint wherein they should set forth
their claim for the 12hectares in question, stating the ultimate facts
in support of their claim, such as the partition made by Juan C.
Pangilinan, their acquisition of the share of Prima Pangilinan and
the usufructuary rights of their parents, their long possession of the
said portion, their claim for the produce of the land, the expenses
incurred by them in Civil Case No. 560, Labaria vs. Pangilinan,
and their contention that Lot No. 1920 forms part of the estate of
the Pangilinan spouses.

Copies of that motion should be served upon the administrator and


upon Prima Pangilinan and the heirs of Concepcion Pangilinan
(who are all represented by the same lawyers).

They should answer the motion within fifteen days from service.
In their answer the appellants should set forth the ultimate facts
and the defenses (such as the violation of section 118 of the Public
Land Law) to support their theory that Lot No. 1112 still forms
part of the estate of the spouses Juan C. Pangilinan and Teresa
Magtuba and that the heirs of Francisco Pangilinan should bear
one-third of the expenses incurred by Concepcion Pangilinan in
Civil Case No. 560.

After the issues have been joined and in case no amicable


settlement has been reached, the probate court should receive
evidence or a full-dress hearing should be held.

After trial, the lower court’s decision on the issues as to what


constitutes the estate of the Pangilinan spouses should include the
partition thereof and should indicate what portion of the estate
should be allocated to Crispin Borromeo. If necessary, the validity
of the donation or partition of Lot No. 1112, made by Juan C.
Pangilinan during his lifetime, should be passed upon.

WHEREFORE, (1) the lower court’s amended order of August 31,


1966, excluding twelve hectares from the partition of the estate of
the deceased Pangilinan spouses (L-27082) and (2) the two orders
dated May 11, 1968, regarding the claim of Gaudalupe Pizarras
and her children and the debt of the estate to Concepcion
Pangilinan (L-29545) are reversed and set aside.

A new trial should be held on those matters after the filing of the
proper pleadings and in case no amicable settlement is reached.
The heirs of Francisco Pangilinan should file their motion within
thirty days from notice of the entry of judgment in this case.

The case is remanded to the lower court for further proceedings in


accordance with the guidelines already set forth. No costs.
SO ORDERED.

10. Cortes. V. CA, 340 SCRA 715

Facts:
Petitioner Menandro, Cortes and Florante are the children of
Spouses Teodoro and Lucrecia who both died.

The spouses owned a house and lot.

Lucrecia died ahead of Teodoro. Teodoro left a will with Cortes as


executrix.

As executrix, Cortes filed a motion before the probate court


praying that Menandro, the occupant of the property, be ordered to
vacate it and turn it over to her as executrix.

RTC as probate court granted the motion and ordered Menandro to


vacate.

CA reversed holding that RTC had limited jurisdiction.

Issue:
W/N the RTC probate court had jurisdiction to order the ejectment
of Menandro - Yes

Held:
Yes

The long standing rule is that probate courts, or those in charge of


proceedings whether testate or intestate, cannot adjudicate or
determine title to properties claimed to be part of the estate and
which are claimed to belong to outside parties.

Stated otherwise, “claims for title to, or right of possession of,


personal or real property, made by the heirs themselves, by title
adverse to that of the deceased, or made by third persons, cannot
be entertained by the (probate) court.”

In this case however, Menandro, who refused to vacate the house


and lot being eyed as part of the estate of the late Teodoro T.
Reselva, cannot be considered an “outside party” for he is one of
the three compulsory heirs of the former. As such, he is very much
involved in the settlement of Teodoro’s estate.

By way of exception to the above-mentioned rule, “when the


parties are all heirs of the decedent, it is optional upon them to
submit to the probate court the question of title to property.”

Here, the probate court is competent to decide the question of


ownership. More so, when the opposing parties belong to the poor
stratum of society and a separate action would be most expensive
and inexpedient.

In addition, Menandro’s claim is not at all adverse to, or in conflict


with that of, the decedent since the former’s theory merely
advances co-ownership with the latter.

In the same way, when the controversy is whether the property in


issue belongs to the conjugal partnership or exclusively to the
decedent, the same is properly within the jurisdiction of the
probate court, which necessarily has to liquidate the conjugal
partnership in order to determine the estate of the decedent which
is to be distributed among the heirs.

More importantly, the case at bar falls squarely under Rule 73,
Section 2 of the Revised Rules of Court, thus:

"When the marriage is dissolved by the death of the husband or


wife, the community property shall be inventoried, administered,
and liquidated, and the debts thereof paid, in the testate or intestate
proceedings of the deceased spouse. If both spouses have died, the
conjugal partnership shall be liquidated in the testate or intestate
proceedings of either.”

Hence, it is not necessary to file a separate proceeding in court for


the proper disposition of the estate. Under Rule 73, Section 2 of
the Rules of Court, if both spouses have died, the conjugal
partnership shall be liquidated in the testate or intestate
proceedings of either.

Consequently, this case before us should be returned to the pro-


bate court for the liquidation of the conjugal partnership of
Teodoro and Lucrecia Reselva prior to the settlement of the estate
of Teodoro.
WHEREFORE, without reinstating the assailed order of the trial
court, the questioned decision of the Court of Appeals dated
September 9, 1994 in CA-G.R. SP No. 33826 is hereby SET
ASIDE and the case REMANDED to the court of origin for further
proceedings. No pronouncement as to costs.
SO ORDERED.

Rule 74 – Summary settlement of estates


1. Utulo v. Pasion Vda. De Garcia, 66 Phil. 303 (1938)

Facts:
Sanchez died intestate. In the proceedings for the administration
of his property, the surviving spouse Garcia (herein oppositor) was
appointed as judicial administratrix.

Luz, an heir of Sanchez, was married to applicant Utulo, and


during the pendency of the administration proceedings, she died in
the province without any descendants.

Utulo commenced in the same court the judicial administration of


the property of Luz, stating in his petition that
1. her only heirs were he himself and his mother-in-law, the
oppositor Garcia.
2. the only property left by Luz consisted in the Luz’s share from
the intestate of her father Sanchez
3. asking that he be named administrator of the property of Luz
The oppositor opposed the petition claiming that:
1. inasmuch as Luz left no indebtedness, there was no occasion for
the said judicial administration;
2. but she stated that should the court grant the administration of
the property, she should be appointed the administratrix thereof
inasmuch as she had a better right than the applicant

RTC appointed Utulo as the administrator of the property left by


Luz.

Issue:
W/N judicial administration of the property lies (w/n there is a
need for administration of the estate) - No

Held:
No.

The Code of Civil Procedure provides in part that “if no executor


is named in the will, or if a person dies intestate, administration
shall be granted.” This provision enunciates the general rule that
when a person dies leaving property in the Philippine Islands, his
property should be judicially administered and the competent court
should appoint a qualified administrator, in the order established in
the section, in case the deceased left no will, or in case he had left
one should he fail to name an executor therein.

This rule, however, is subject to the ff. exceptions:


1. when all the heirs are of lawful age and there are no debts due
from the estate, they may agree in writing to partition the property
without instituting the judicial administration or applying for the
appointment of an administrator.
2. if the property left does not exceed six thousand pesos, the heirs
may apply to the competent court, after the required publications,
to proceed with the summary partition and, after paying all the
known obligations, to partition all the property constituting the
inheritance among themselves pursuant to law, without instituting
the judicial administration and the appointment of an
administrator.

This court repeatedly held that when a person dies without leaving
pending obligations to be paid, his heirs, whether of age or not are
not bound to submit the property to a judicial administration,
which is always long and costly, or to apply for the appointment of
an administrator by the court. It has been uniformly held that in
such case the judicial administration and the appointment of an
administrator are superfluous and unnecessary proceedings.

Ilustre v. Frondosa:

“The rights to the succession of a person are transmitted from the


moment of his death; in other words, the heirs succeeded
immediately to all of the property of the deceased ancestor. The
property belongs to the heirs at the moment of the death of the
ancestor as completely as if the ancestor had executed and
delivered to them a deed for the same before his death.

In the absence of debts existing against the estate, the heirs may
enter upon the administration of the said property immediately. If
they desire to administer it jointly, they may do so. If they desire to
partition it among themselves and can do this by mutual
agreement, they also have that privilege. The Code of Procedure in
Civil Actions provides how an estate may be divided by a petition
for partition in case they can not mutually agree in the division.
When there are no debts existing against the estate, there is
certainly no occasion for the intervention of an administrator in the
settlement and partition of the estate among the heirs.

When the heirs are all of lawful age and there are no debts, there is
no reason why the estate should be burdened with the costs and
expenses of an administrator. The property belonging absolutely to
the heirs, in the absence of existing debts against the estate, the
administrator has no right to intervene in any way whatever in the
division of the estate among the heirs. They are coowners of an
undivided estate and the law offers them a remedy for the division
of the same among themselves. There is nothing in the present case
to show that the heirs requested the appointment of the
administrator, or that they intervened in any way whatever in the
present action. If there are any heirs of the estate who have not
received their participation, they have their remedy by petition for
partition of the said estate.”

Fule v. Fule:

“All of the property, real and personal, of a deceased person who


dies intestate, is transmitted immediately to his heirs. If then the
property of the deceased, who dies intestate, passes immediately to
his heirs, as owners, and there are no debts, what reason can there
be for the appointment of a judicial administrator to administer the
estate for them and to deprive the real owners of their possession
to which they are immediately entitled?

The right of the heirs in cases like the one we are discussing, also
exists in the division of personal as well as the real property. If
they cannot agree as to the division, then a suit for partition of such
personal property among the heirs of the deceased owner is
maintainable where the estate is not in debt, the heirs are all of age,
and there is no administration upon the estate and no necessity
thereof.

It is difficult to conceive of any one class or item of property


susceptible of being held in common which may not be divided by
the coöwners. It may be of personal property as well as of real
estate; of several parcels as well as of a single parcel, and of non-
contiguous as well as of adjacent tracts; or of part only of the lands
of the co-owners as well as of the whole.”

There is no weight in the argument adduced by the appellee to the


effect that his appointment as judicial administrator is necessary so
that he may have legal capacity to appear in the intestate of the
deceased Juan Garcia Sanchez. As he would appear in the said
intestate by the right of representation, it would suffice for him to
allege in proof of his interest that he is a usufructuary forced heir
of his deceased wife who, in turn, would be a forced heir and an
interested and necessary party if she were living. In order to
intervene in said intestate and to take part in the distribution of the
property it is not necessary that the administration of the property
of his deceased wife be instituted·an administration which will
take up time and occasion inconveniences and unnecessary
expenses.

2. Pereira v. CA, (1989)

Facts:
Andres Pereira, an employee of PAL, died without a will. He was
survived by his legitimate spouse of 10 months, petitioner Victoria,
and his sister, respondent Nagac.

The sister filed an action for the issuance of letters of


administration in her favor, claiming that:
1. She and Victoria are the only surviving heirs
2. the deceased left no will
3. there are no creditors
4. the deceased left several properties: death benefits, savings
deposits, and a parcel of land.

Petitioner surviving spouse opposed and filed a MTD on the


ground that there exists no estate for purposes of administration

RTC appointed the sister as administratrix upon a bond posted by


her.

CA affirmed

Issue:
W/N there is a need for the appointment of an administrator - No

Held:
No.

The general rule is that when a person dies leaving property, the
same should be judicially administered and the competent court
should appoint a qualified administrator, in the order established in
Section 6, Rule 78, in case the deceased left no will, or in case he
had left one, should he fail to name an executor therein.

An exception to this rule is established in Section 1 of Rule 74.


Under this exception, when all the heirs are of lawful age and there
are no debts due from the estate, they may agree in writing to
partition the property without instituting the judicial administration
or applying for the appointment of an administrator.

Section 1, Rule 74 of the Revised Rules of Court, however, does


not preclude the heirs from instituting administration proceedings,
even if the estate has no debts or obligations, if they do not desire
to resort for good reasons to an ordinary action for partition. While
Section 1 allows the heirs to divide the estate among themselves as
they may see fit, or to resort to an ordinary action for partition, the
said provision does not compel them to do so if they have good
reasons to take a different course of action. It should be noted that
recourse to an administration proceeding even if the estate has no
debts is sanctioned only if the heirs have good reasons for not
resorting to an action for partition. Where partition is possible,
either in or out of court, the estate should not be burdened with an
administration proceeding without good and compelling reasons.

Thus, it has been repeatedly held that when a person dies without
leaving pending obligations to be paid, his heirs, whether of age or
not, are not bound to submit the property to a judicial
administration, which is always long and costly, or to apply for the
appointment of an administrator by the Court. It has been
uniformly held that in such case the judicial administration and the
appointment of an administrator are superfluous and unnecessary
proceedings.

Now, what constitutes “good reason” to warrant a judicial


administration of the estate of a deceased when the heirs are all of
legal age and there are no creditors will depend on the
circumstances of each case.

In one case, where the parties were in dispute as to what property


belonged to the deceased (and therefore to the heirs), the Court
held that such question may properly be ventilated in the partition
proceedings, especially where such property is in the hands of one
heir.

In another case, We held that if the reason for seeking an


appointment as administrator is merely to avoid a multiplicity of
suits since the heir seeking such appointment wants to ask for the
annulment of certain transfers of property, that same objective
could be achieved in an action for partition and the trial court is
not justified in issuing letters of administration.
We see no reason not to apply this doctrine to the case at bar. There
are only two surviving heirs, a wife of ten months and a sister, both
of age. The parties admit that there are no debts of the deceased to
be paid. What is at once apparent that these two heirs are not in
good terms. The only conceivable reason why private respondent
seeks appointment as administratrix is for her to obtain possession
of the alleged properties of the deceased for her own purposes,
since these properties are presently in the hands of petitioner
surviving spouse who supposedly disposed of them fraudulently.
We are of the opinion that this is not a compelling reason which
will necessitate a judicial administration of the estate of the
deceased.

To subject the estate of Andres de Guzman Pereira, which does not


appear to be substantial especially since the only real property left
has been extrajudicially settled, to an administration proceeding
for no useful purpose would only unnecessarily expose it to the
risk of being wasted or squandered. In most instances of a similar
nature, the claims of both parties as to the properties left by the
deceased may be properly ventilated in simple partition
proceedings where the creditors, should there be any, are protected
in any event.

WHEREFORE, the letters of administration issued by the


Regional Trial Court of Bacoor to Rita Pereira Nagac are hereby
revoked and the administration proceeding dismissed without
prejudice to the right of private respondent to commence a new
action for partition of the property left by Andres de Guzman
Pereira. No costs.
SO ORDERED.

Notes:
What is compelling reason:
1. big estate
2. need to preserve the property of the estate before it can be
distributed to the heirs

3. Sampilo v. CA, 103 Phil. 71

Facts:
Tolete died intestate leaving 4 parcels of land. He left as heirs his
widow De Leon and several nephews and nieces.

Without any judicial proceedings, his widow executed an affidavit


stating that she was the only heir of the deceased. This affidavit
was registered in the Registry of Deeds.

On the same day, she executed a deed of sale of all the above
parcels of land in favor of Benny Sampilo for the sum of P10,000.
This sale was also registered in the Office of the Register of Deeds
of Pangasinan.

Benny Sampilo, in turn, sold the lots to Salacup. this sale was also
registered with the RD.

Felisa Sinopera instituted proceedings for the administration of the


estate of Teodoro Tolete, and having secured her appointment as
administratrix, brought the present action for recovery of the
parcels of land.

Notice of lis pendens was filed in the Office of the Register of


Deeds and said notice was recorded on certificates of title covering
the said properties on June 26, 1950. This notice, however, was
subsequent to the registration of the deed of sale, in favor of
Salacup.

The complaint alleges that the widow had no right to execute the
affidavit of adjudication and that Salacup acquired no rights to the
land sold — neither had Sampilo acquired any rights.

RTC ruled for Sinopera declaring the 2 sales null and void.

CA affirmed.

Hence this petition arguing, among others, that Sinopera’s right to


recover the lots have prescribed.

Issue:
1. W/N the right to recover the lots has prescribed - No.
2. W/N petitioners are innocent purchasers for value - No.

Held:

1. No.
It is argued that as the action was instituted almost four years after
the affidavit of adjudication was registered in the Office of the
Register of Deeds of Pangasinan, the right of action of the
administratrix has prescribed and lapsed because the same was not
brought within the period of two years as prescribed in Section 4
of Rule 74 of the Rules of Court:

SEC. 4. Liability of distributees and estate. — If it shall appear at


any time within two years after the settlement and distribution of
an estate in accordance with the provisions of either of the first two
sections of this rule, that an heir or other person has been unduly
deprived of his lawful participation in the estate, such heir or such
other person may compel the settlement of the estate in the courts
in the manner hereinafter provided for the purpose of satisfying
such lawful participation.

SEC. 1. Extrajudicial settlement by agreement between heirs.·If


the decedent left no debts and the heirs and legatees are all of age,
or the minors are represented by their judicial guardians, the
parties may, without securing letters of administration, divide the
estate among themselves as they see fit by means of a public
instrument filed in the office of the register of deeds, and should
they disagree, they may do so in an ordinary action of partition. If
there is only one heir or one legatee, he may adjudicate to himself
the entire estate by means of an affidavit filed in the office of the
register of deeds. It shall be presumed that the decedent left no
debts if no creditor files a petition for letters of administration
within two years after the death of the decedent

It will be noted that the provision next above-quoted contains two


parts, the first referring to a case in which there are two or more
heirs interested in the estate of a deceased person, and the second
in which there is only one heir.

We notice two significant provisions in Sections 1 and 4 of Rule


74. In Section 1, it is required that if there are two or more heirs,
both or all of them should take part in the extrajudicial settlement.
This requirement is made more imperative in the old law by the
addition of the clause “and not otherwise.”

By the title of Section 4, the "distributees and estate" are indicated


as the persons to answer for rights violated by the extrajudicial
settlement. On the other hand, it is also significant that no mention
is made expressly of the effect of the extrajudicial settlement on
persons who did not take part therein or had no notice or
knowledge thereof. There cannot be any doubt that those who took
part or had knowledge of the extrajudicial settlement are bound
thereby. As to them the law is clear that if they claim to have been
in any manner deprived of their lawful right or share in the estate
by the extrajudicial settlement, they may demand their rights or
interest within the period of two years, and both the distributees
and estate would be liable to them for such rights or interest.
Evidently, they are the persons who, in accordance with the
provision, may seek to remedy the prejudice to their rights within
the two-year period.

But as to those who did not take part in the settlement or had no
notice of the death of the decedent or of the settlement, there is no
direct or express provision, and it is unreasonable and unjust that
they also be required to assert their claims within the period of two
years. To extend the effects of the settlement to them, to those who
did not take part or had no knowledge thereof, without any express
legal provision to that effect, would be violative of the
fundamental right to due process of law.

The procedure outlined in Section 1 of Rule 74 of extrajudicial


settlement or by affidavit, is an ex parte proceeding. It cannot by
any reason or logic be contended that such settlement or
distribution would affect third persons who had no knowledge
either of the death of the decedent or of the extrajudicial settlement
or affidavit, especially as no mention of such effect is made, either
directly or by implication. We have examined the two cases cited
by appellants and there is no similarity at all between the
circumstances on which the ruling therein had been predicated and
those of the case at bar.

We are of the opinion and so-hold that the provisions of Section 4


of Rule 74, barring distributees or heirs from objecting to an
extrajudicial partition after the expiration of two years from such
extrajudicial partition, is applicable only
(1) to persons who have participated or taken part or had notice of
the extrajudicial partition, and, in addition,
(2) when the provisions of Section 1 of Rule 74 have been strictly
complied with, i.e., that all the persons or heirs of the decedent
have taken part in the extrajudicial settlement or are represented by
themselves or through guardians.

The case at bar fails to comply with both requirements because not
all the heirs interested have participated in the extrajudicial
settlement, the Court of Appeals having found that the decedent
left, aside from his widow, nephews and nieces living at the time
of his death.

The next contention of appellants is that plaintiff's action is barred


by the statute of limitations. The origin of the provision (Section 4,
Rule 74), upon which this contention is predicated, which is
Section 596 of Act No. 190, fails to support the contention. In the
first place, there is nothing therein, or in its source which shows
clearly a statute of limitations and a bar of action against third
persons. It is only a bar against the parties who had taken part in
the extrajudicial proceedings, but not against third persons not
parties thereto.

But even if Section 4 of Rule 74 is a statute of limitations, it is still


unavailing to the defendants. The action is one based on fraud, as
the widow of the deceased owner of the lands had declared in her
affidavit of partition that the deceased left no nephews or nieces,
nor other heirs except herself. Plaintiff's right of action, which is
based on fraud and which has a period of four years (Section 43,
par, 3, Act No. 190; Article 1146, Civil Code), does not appear to
have lapsed when the action was instituted.

2. No.
Petitioners cannot claim to be innocent purchasers for value. As
regards defendant Benny Sampilo, it is an admitted fact that he is a
nephew of Leoncia de Leon and he had been living with the latter.
Both Benny Sampilo and the heirs of the deceased who are
claiming the property are residents of San Manuel, Pangasinan. It
is hard, therefore, to believe that Benny Sampilo did not know the
existence of said heirs, and that he was not aware that they were
nephews and nieces, children of the deceased brothers, of the
deceased Teodoro Tolete.

The fact furthermore that Benny Sampilo accompanied his aunt


Leoncia de Leon to Sison, Pangasinan, when the latter saw Notary
Public Ladislao Villamil, who was the former’s uncle, to have him
prepare the affidavit of adjudication Exhibit "A”, and the deed of
conveyance Exhibit "B" by which on the same date she conveyed
to Sampilo all the property which she had adjudicated to herself,
both of which she acknowledged before said notary public,
coupled with the fact that there is no sufficient showing that the
consideration for the conveyance of P10,000 had in fact been paid,
strengthens our belief that said Benny Sampilo knew that the
deceased Teodoro Tolete had other heirs who may claim the
property, and that the immediate conveyance thereof to him was a
strategem concocted to defeat the former's rights.

And as regards Honorato Salacup, while the claim that no notice of


lis pendens appeared annotated in the certificates of title issued to
Benny Sampilo when he acquired the property might be true, for
he purchased the property on June 17, 1950, and the notice of lis
pendens was noted on said certificates of title on June 26, 1950,
nevertheless, he cannot claim that he was a purchaser in good faith
for value of the property. It is well-settled rule in this jurisdiction
that a purchaser of registered lands who has knowledge of facts
which should put him upon inquiry and investigate as to the
possible defects of the title of the vendor and fails to make such
inquiry and investigation cannot claim that he is a purchaser in
good faith for value and he had acquired a valid title thereto.

4. Marquez v. Court of Appeals, 300 SCRA 653

Facts:
During their lifetime, spouses Rafael and Felicidad Marquez begot
12 children.

Felicidad died intestate. 30 years later, Rafael executed an


Affidavit of Adjudication vesting unto himself sole ownership to a
certain parcel of land. Consequently, he obtained title thereto under
his name.

Rafael then executed a Deed of Donation Inter Vivos over the land
and the house constructed over it to 3 of his 12 children:
Respondents Rafael Jr, Alfredo, and Belen. A new TCT was issued
them.

For 8 years respondents were in actual possession of the land.


However, when the other siblings — petitioners herein — learned
of the lot, they demanded their respective shares thereto.
Unfortunately, efforts to settle the dispute proved unavailing.

8 years and 11 months from the time the Affidavit of Adjudication


was registered, Petitioners filed an action for RECONVEYANCE
AND PARTITION claiming that both the "Affidavit of
Adjudication” and “Deed of Donation Inter Vivos” were fraudulent
since the private respondents took advantage of the advanced age
of their father in making him execute the said documents.

Respondents claim that their action was already barred by


prescription since the should have been filed within 4 years from
the date of discovery of the alleged fraud.

RTC ruled for petitioners holding that prescription cannot set in


because an action to set aside a document which is void ab initio
does not prescribe.

CA reversed holding that the action may be filed within four (4)
years from the discovery of the fraud. Such discovery is deemed to
have taken place in the case at bar on June 16, 1982, when the
affidavit of self-adjudication was filed with the Register of Deeds
and new certificate of title (No. 33350) was issued in the name of
Rafael, Sr. Considering that the period from June 16, 1982, when
TCT No. 33350 was issued in the name of Rafael Marquez, Sr., to
May 31, 1991, when appellees’ complaint was filed in court, is
eight (8) years, eleven (11) months and fifteen (15) days,
appellants’ action to annul the deed of self-adjudication is
definitely barred by the statute of limitation.

Issue:
W/N the action has prescribed - No.

Held:
No.
Petitioners claim that an action for reconveyance based on implied
or constructive trust prescribes in ten (10) years.

When Rafael Marquez, Sr., for one reason or another,


misrepresented in his unilateral affidavit that he was the only heir
of his wife when in fact their children were still alive, and
managed to secure a transfer of certificate of title under his name,
a constructive trust under Article 1456 was established.
Constructive trusts are created in equity in order to prevent unjust
enrichment. They arise contrary to intention against one who, by
fraud, duress or abuse of confidence, obtains or holds the legal
right to property which he ought not, in equity and good
conscience, to hold. Prescinding from the foregoing discussion, did
the action for reconveyance filed by the petitioners prescribe, as
held by the Court of Appeals?

In this regard, it is settled that an action for reconveyance based on


an implied or constructive trust prescribes in ten years from the
issuance of the Torrens title over the property. For purposes of this
case, the prescriptive period shall start to run when TCT No.
33350 was issued, which was on June 16, 1982. Thus, considering
that the action for reconveyance was filed on May 31, 1991, or
approximately nine years later, it is evident that prescription had
not yet barred the action.

PEZA v. Fernandez - registration of partition starts the 10 year


period for trust, except when title remains in the hands of the
heirs who fraudulently obtained partition… cannot prejudice
IPV.
action for reconveyance based on fraud is 4 years from
issuance of title. still cannot prejudice IPV.

Check Torbela v. Rosario “relying on the registration…” must


be a clear repudiation.

GR: registration is repudiation of the trust


Exc: if part of the trust was to have the property named in
favor of defendant, the registration to his name will not start
the period.

Rule 75 – Probate

1. Acain v. IAC, 155 SCRA 100

Facts:
Petitioner Constantino Acain filed a petition for the probate of
the will of Nemesio Acain and for the issuance of letters
testamentary to him, on the premise that Acain died leaving a will
in which petitioner and his brothers were instituted as heirs.

The will:
1. written in Bisaya with a translation in English
2. contained provisions on burial rites, payment of debts, and the
appointment of Atty. Villagonzalo as executor
3. "All my shares that I may receive from our properties, house,
lands and money which I earned jointly with my wife Rosa
Diongson shall all be given
to Segundo Acain, and if he predeceases the testator, to Segundo’s
children — Constantino Acain et al.”

The oppositors respondents — the widow Rosa Diongson and an


adopted child Virginia — filed a MTD on the ground that:
1. petitioner has no legal capacity to institute the proceedings
2. he is merely a universal heir
3. the widow and the adopted daughter (respondents) have been
preterited

RTC denied the MTD.

IAC (CA) reversed and dismissed the petition

Issue:
W/N RTC should have granted the MTD - Yes because there was
preterition of the compulsory heir in the direct line Virginia.

Held:
Yes.

Virginia was preterited from the inheritance.

We now deal with another matter. In order that a person may be


allowed to intervene in a probate proceeding he must have an
interest
1. in the estate, or
2. in the will, or
3. in the property to be affected by it either as executor or as a
claimant of the estate and
4. an interested party is one who would be benefited by the estate
such as an heir or one who has a claim against the estate like a
creditor

Petitioner is not the appointed executor, neither a devisee or a


legatee there being no mention in the testamentary disposition of
any gift of an individual item of personal or real property he is
called upon to receive

At the outset, he appears to have an interest in the will as an heir,


defined under Article 782 of the Civil Code as a person called to
the succession either by the provision of a will or by operation of
law. However, intestacy having resulted from the preterition of
respondent adopted child and the universal institution of heirs,
petitioner is in effect not an heir of the testator. He has no legal
standing to petition for the probate of the will left by the deceased
and Special Proceedings No. 591-A-CEB must be dismissed.

It is axiomatic that the remedies of certiorari and prohibition are


not available where the petitioner has the remedy of appeal or
some other plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the course of
law. They are, however, proper remedies to correct a grave abuse
of discretion of the trial court in not dismissing a case where the
dismissal is founded on valid grounds as in this case.

Special Proceedings No. 591-CEB is for the probate of a will. As


stated by respondent Court, the general rule is that the probate
court’s authority is limited only to the extrinsic validity of the will,
the due execution thereof, the testator’s testamentary capacity and
the compliance with the requisites or solemnities prescribed by
law. The intrinsic validity of the will normally comes only after the
Court has declared that the will has been duly authenticated. Said
court at this stage of the proceedings is not called upon to rule on
the intrinsic validity or efficacy of the provisions of the will

The rule, however, is not inflexible and absolute. Under


exceptional circumstances, the probate court is not powerless to do
what the situation constrains it to do and pass upon certain
provisions of the will.

In Nuguid v. Nuguid the oppositors to the probate moved to


dismiss on the ground of absolute preterition. The probate court
acting on the motion held that the will in question was a complete
nullity and dismissed the petition without costs. On appeal the
Supreme Court upheld the decision of the probate court, induced
by practical considerations:

“If the case were to be remanded for probate of the will, nothing
will be gained. On the contrary, this litigation will be protracted.
And for aught that appears in the record, in the event of probate or
if the court rejects the will, probability exists that the case will
come up once again before us on the same issue of the intrinsic
validity or nullity of the will. Result: waste of time, effort,
expense, plus added anxiety. These are the practical considerations
that induce us to a belief that we might as well meet head-on the
issue of the validity of the provisions of the will in question. After
all there exists a justiciable controversy crying for solution.”
For private respondents to have tolerated the probate of the will
and allowed the case to progress when on its face the will appears
to be intrinsically void as petitioner and his brothers and sisters
were instituted as universal heirs coupled with the obvious fact that
one of the private respondents had been preterited would have
been an exercise in futility. It would have meant a waste of time,
effort, expense, plus added futility. The trial court could have
denied its probate outright or could have passed upon the intrinsic
validity of the testamen-tary provisions before the extrinsic
validity of the will was resolved (Cayetano v. Leonidas, supra;
Nuguid v. Nuguid, supra). The remedies of certiorari and
prohibition were properly availed of by private respondents.

2. Abangan v. Abangan, 40 Phil. 477

Facts:
The RTC admitted Ana Abangan’s will to probate.

The will consisted of 2 sheets. The first of which contains all the
disposition duly signed at the bottom by Montalban (in the name
and under the direction of the testatrix), and by 3 witnesses. The
second contains only the attestation clause duly signed at the
bottom by the 3 instrumental witnesses.

Neither of these sheets is signed on the left margin by the testatrix


and the three witnesses, nor numbered by letters; and these
omissions, according to appellants’ contention, are defects
whereby the probate of the will should have been denied.

Issue:
W/N the will was properly admitted to probate - Yes

Held:
Yes

We are of the opinion that the will was duly admitted to probate.

In requiring that each and every sheet of the will should also be
signed on the left margin by the testator and three witnesses in the
presence of each other, Act No. 2645 (which is the one applicable
in the case) evidently has for its object (referring- to the body of
the will itself) to avoid the substitution of any of said sheets,
thereby changing the testator’s dispositions.

But when these dispositions are wholly written on only one sheet
signed at the bottom by the testator and three witnesses (as the
instant case), their signatures on the left margin of said sheet
would be completely purposeless.

In requiring this signature on the margin, the statute took into


consideration, undoubtedly, the case of a will written on several
sheets and must have referred to the sheets which the testator and
the witnesses do not have to sign at the bottom. A different
interpretation would assume that the statute requires that this sheet,
already signed at the bottom, be signed twice. We cannot attribute
to the statute such an intention.

As these signatures must be written by the testator and the


witnesses in the presence of each other, it appears that, if the
signatures at the bottom of the sheet guaranties its authenticity,
another signature on its left margin would be unnecessary; and if
they do not guaranty, same signatures, affixed on another part of
same sheet, would add nothing.

We cannot assume that the statute regards of such importance the


place where the testator and the witnesses must sign on the sheet
that it would consider that their signatures written on the bottom
do not guaranty the authenticity of the sheet but, if repeated on the
margin, give sufficient security.

In requiring that each and every page of a will must be numbered


correlatively in letters placed on the upper part of the sheet, it is
likewise clear that the object of Act No. 2645 is to know whether
any sheet of the will has been removed. But, when all the
dispositive parts of a will are written on one sheet only, the object
of the statute disappears because the removal of this single sheet,
although unnumbered, cannot be hidden.

What has been said is also applicable to the attestation clause.


Wherefore, without considering whether or not this clause is an
essential part of the will, we hold that in the one accompanying the
will in question, the signatures of the testatrix and of the three
witnesses on the margin and the numbering of the pages of the
sheet are formalities not required by the statute. Moreover,
referring specially to the signature of the testatrix, we can add that
same is not necessary in the attestation clause because this, as its
name implies, appertains only to the witnesses and not to the
testator since the latter does not attest, but executes, the will.

Synthesizing our opinion, we hold that in a will consisting of two


sheets the first of which contains all the testamentary dispositions
and is signed at the bottom by the testator and three witnesses and
the second contains only the attestation clause and is signed also at
the bottom by the three witnesses, it is not necessary that both
sheets be further signed on their margins by the testator and the
witnesses, or be paged.

The object of the solemnities surrounding the execution of wills is


to close the door against bad faith and fraud, to avoid substitution
of wills and testaments and to guaranty their truth and authenticity.
Therefore the laws on this subject should be interpreted in such a
way as to attain these primordial ends. But, on the other hand, also
one must not lose sight of the fact that it is not the object of the law
to restrain and curtail the exercise of the right to make a will. So
when an interpretation already given assures such ends, any other
interpretation whatsoever, that adds nothing but demands more
requisites entirely unnecessary, useless and frustrative of the
testator’s last will, must be disregarded.

As another ground for this appeal, it is alleged the records do not


show that the testatrix knew the dialect in which the will is written.
But the circumstance appearing in the will itself that same was
executed in the city of Cebu and in the dialect of this locality
where the testatrix was a neighbour is enough, in the absence of
any proof to the contrary, to presume that she knew this dialect in
which this will is written.

3. Nuguid v. Nuguid, 17 SCRA 449

Facts:
Rosario Nuguid died without descendants. She was survived by
her parents and her 6 siblings.

One of the siblings, Remedios, filed a petition for the probate of


Rosario’s alleged holographic will which gave all her properties to
Remedios and for the issuance of letters of administration to her.

The parents of Rosario opposed the probate on the ground that by


the institution of petitioner Remedios Nuguid as universal heir of
the deceased, oppositors — who are compulsory heirs of the
deceased in the direct ascending line — were illegally preterited
and that in consequence the institution is void.

Oppositor parents filed a MTD on that ground.

RTC held that the will in question is a complete nullity and will
perforce create intestacy of the estate of the deceased Rosario
Nuguid.

Issue:
W/N RTC erred in ruling upon the intrinsic validity of the will -
No.

Held:
No.

Right at the outset, a procedural aspect has engaged our attention.


The case is for the probate of a will. The court’s area of inquiry is
limited to an examination of, and resolution on, the extrinsic
validity of the will.

The due execution thereof, the testatrix’s testamentary capacity,


and the compliance with the requisites or solemnities by law
prescribed, are the questions solely to be presented, and to be acted
upon, by the court Said court at this stage of the proceedings — is
not called upon to rule on the intrinsic validity or efficacy of the
provisions of the will, the legality of any devise or legacy therein.

A peculiar situation is here thrust upon us. The parties shunted


aside the question of whether or not the will should be allowed
probate. For them, the meat of the case is the intrinsic validity of
the will. Normally, this comes only after the court has declared that
the will has been duly authenticated.

But petitioner and oppositors, in the court below and here on


appeal, travelled on the issue of law, to wit: Is the will intrinsically
a nullity?

We pause to reflect. If the case were to be remanded for probate of


the will, nothing will be gained. On the contrary, this litigation will
be protracted. And for aught that appears in the record, in the event
of probate or if the court rejects the will, probability exists that the
case will come up once again before us on the same issue of the
intrinsic validity or nullity of the will. Result: waste of time, effort,
expense, plus added anxiety. These are the practical considerations
that induce us to a belief that we might as well meet head-on the
issue of the validity of the provisions of the will in question. After
all, there exists a justiciable controversy crying for solution.

The deceased Rosario Nuguid left no descendants, legitimate or


illegitimate. But she left forced heirs in the direct ascending line —
her parents, now oppositors Felix Nuguid and Paz Salonga
Nuguid. And, the will completely omits both of them: They thus
received nothing by the testament;
tacitly, they were deprived of their legitime; neither were they
expressly disinherited. This is a clear case of preterition

4. Maninang v. CA, 114 SCRA 478

Facts:
Clemencia Aseneta died at the age of 81. She left a holographic
will giving all she had to Dra. Maninang. The will also stated that
“I have found peace and happiness with them even during the time
when my sisters were still alive and especially now when I am now
being troubled by my nephew Bernardo and niece Salvacion. I am
not incompetent as Nonoy would like me to appear. I know what is
right and wrong. I can decide for myself. I do not consider Nonoy
as my adopted son. He has made me do things against my will.”

Petitioner Maninang filed a petition for probate of the will.

Respondent Aseneta, claiming to be the sole heir of the decedent,


instituted intestate proceedings with the RTC. (intestate case)

The 2 cases were consolidated.

Respondent filed a MTD on the ground that the holographic will


was void because he was preterited, therefore intestacy should
ensue.

Petitioner Soledad averred that it is still the rule that in a case for
probate of a Will, the Court’s area of inquiry is limited to an
examination of and resolution on the extrinsic validity of the will;
and that respondent Bernardo was effectively disinherited by the
decedent.

RTC dismissed the testate case.

Issue:
W/N the RTC erred in dismissing the testate case - Yes

Held:
Yes

We find that the Court a quo acted in excess of its jurisdiction


when it dismissed the Testate Case. Generally, the probate of a
Will is mandatory.
“No will shall pass either real or personal property unless it is
proved and allowed in accordance with the Rules of Court.”

The law enjoins the probate of the Will and public policy requires
it, because unless the Will is probated and notice thereof given to
the whole world, the right of a person to dispose of his property by
Will may be rendered nugatory. Normally, the probate of a Will
does not look into its intrinsic validity. Opposition to the intrinsic
validity or legality of the provisions of the will cannot be
entertained in Probate proceeding because its only purpose is
merely to determine if the will has been executed in accordance
with the requirements of the law.

Respondent however relies on Nuguid v. Nuguid and Balanay v.


Martinez where we held that where practical considerations
demand that the intrinsic validity of the will be passed upon, even
before it is probated, the Court should meet that issue.

The Nuguid and the Balanay cases provide the exception rather
than the rule. The intrinsic validity of the Wills in those cases was
passed upon even before probate because "practical
considerations" so demanded. Moreover, for the parties in the
Nuguid case, the "meat of the controversy” was the intrinsic
validity of the Will; in fact, the parties in that case "shunted aside
the question of whether or not the Will should be allowed probate."
Not so in the case before us now where the probate of the Will is
insisted on by petitioners and a resolution on the extrinsic validity
of the Will demanded.
Moreover, in the Nuguid case, this Court ruled that the Will was
intrinsically invalid as it completely preterited the parents of the
testator. In the instant case, a crucial issue that calls for resolution
is whether under the terms of the decedent’s Will, private
respondent had been preterited or disinherited, and if the latter,
whether it was a valid disinheritance. Preterition and disinheritance
are two diverse concepts.

By virtue of the dismissal of the Testate Case, the determination of


that controversial issue has not been thoroughly considered. We
gather from the assailed Order of the trial Court that its conclusion
was that respondent Bernardo has been preterited. We are of
opinion, however, that from the face of the Will, that conclusion is
not Indubitable.

Remanded.

Rule 76

1. Sumilang v. Ramagosa, 21 SCRA 1369


(See Acain v. IAC, 155 SCRA 100)

Facts:
Petitioner Sumilang filed a petition for the probate of the alleged
will of Hilarion Ramagosa which instituted petitioner as sole heir
of the testator.
The petition was opposed by 2 sets of oppositors on the following
grounds:
1. the will was executed under duress
2. they are entitled as next of kin to the estate

The oppositors moved for the dismissal of the petition claiming


that the last will and testament of the decedent, if ever it was really
executed by him, was revoked by implication of law six years
before his death. They claim that after making the will Hilarion
Ramagosa sold to petitioner Mariano Sumilang and his brother
Mario the parcels of land described therein, so that at the time of
the testator’s death the titles to said lands were no longer in his
name.

RTC denied the MTD holding that it the court cannot rule upon the
intrinsic validity of the will.

Issue:
W/N the court erred in denying the MTD - No.

Held:
No.

The petition below being for the probate of a will, the court’s area
of inquiry is limited to the extrinsic validity thereof. The testator’s
testamentary capacity and the compliance with the formal
requisites or solemnities prescribed by law are the only questions
presented for the resolution of the court. Any inquiry into the
intrinsic validity or efficacy of the provisions of the will or the
legality of any devise or legacy is premature.

To establish conclusively as against everyone and once for all, the


facts that a will was executed with the formalities required by law
and that the testator was in a condition to make a will, is the only
purpose of the proceedings xxx for the probate of a will. The
judgment in such proceedings determines and can determine
nothing more.

Oppositors would want the court a quo to dismiss the petition for
probate on the ground that the testator had impliedly revoked his
will by selling, prior to his death, the lands disposed of therein.

True or not, the alleged sale is no ground for the dismissal of the
petition for probate. Probate is one thing; the validity of the
testamentary provisions is another. The first decides the execution
of the document and the testamentary capacity of the testator; the
second relates to descent and distribution.

The alleged revocation implied from the execution of the deeds of


conveyance in favor of the testamentary heir is plainly irrelevant to
and separate from the question of whether the testament was duly
executed. For one, if the will is not entitled to probate, or its
probate is denied, all questions of revocation become superfluous:
in law, there is no such will and hence there would be nothing to
revoke.

Then, again, the revocation invoked by the oppositors-appellants is


not an express one, but merely implied from subsequent acts of the
testatrix allegedly evidencing an abandonment of the original
intention to bequeath or devise the properties concerned. As such,
the revocation would not affect the will itself, but merely the
particular devise or legacy.

In their brief, oppositors do not take issue with the court a quo’s
finding that they "have no relationship whatsoever within the fifth
degree as provided by law and therefore . . . are totally (sic)
strangers to the deceased whose will is under probate."

It is a well-settled rule that in order that a person may be allowed


to intervene in a probate proceeding he must have an interest in the
estate, or in the will, or in the property to be affected by it either as
executor or as a claimant of the estate; and an interested party has
been defined as one who would be benefited by the estate such as
an heir or one who has a claim against the estate like a creditor.

The reason for the rule excluding strangers from contesting the
will, is not that thereby the court may be prevented from learning
facts which would justify or necessitate a denial of probate, but
rather that the courts and the litigants should not be molested by
the intervention in the proceedings of persons with no interest in
the estate which would entitle them to be heard with relation
thereto.

2. De Jesus v. De Jesus, 134 SCRA 245


Facts:
After the death of spouses Andres and Bibiana De Jesus, petitioner
Simeon Roxas who is the brother of Bibiana, instituted intestate
proceedings where he was appointed administrator.

After Letters of Administration had been granted to the petitioner,


he delivered to the lower court a document purporting to be the
holographic Will of the deceased Bibiana Roxas de Jesus.

The RTC set the hearing for the probate of the holographic will.

Petitioner testified that after his appointment as administrator, he


found a notebook belonging to the deceased Bibiana R. de Jesus
and that on pages 21, 22, 23 and 24 thereof, a letter-will addressed
to her children and entirely written and signed in the handwriting
of the deceased Bibiana R. de Jesus was found. The will is dated
“FEB./61” and states: “This is my will which I want to be
respected altho it is not written by a lawyer.”

The testimony of Simeon R. Roxas was corroborated by the


testimonies of Pedro Roxas de Jesus and Manuel Roxas de Jesus
who likewise testified that the letter dated “FEB./61” is the
holographic Will of their deceased mother, Bibiana R. de Jesus.
Both recognized the handwriting of their mother and positively
identified her signature. They further testified that their deceased
mother understood English, the language in which the holographic
Will is written, and that the date “FEB./61” was the date when said
Will was executed by their mother.
Respondent Henson opposed claiming that
1. the will was not executed in accordance with law
2. it was executed through force, intimidation and/or duress, undue
influence, and improper pressure
3. the alleged testatrix acted by mistake and/or did not intend, nor
could have intended the said Will to be her last Will and testament
at the time of its execution.

RTC allowed probate of the will which he found to have been duly
executed in accordance with law.

Hence this petition by respondent claiming that the date “FEB./61”


appearing on the holographic will does not comply with the
requirements of law.

Issue:
W/N the date complies with the requirement of law - Yes

Held:
Yes

“ART. 810. A person may execute a holographic will which must


be entirely written, dated, and signed by the hand of the testator
himself. It is subject to no other form, and may be made in or out
of the Philippines, and need not be witnessed.”

Respondent claims that the date must contain the year, month and
day of its execution.
We disagree with respondent.

This will not be the first time that this Court departs from a strict
and literal application of the statutory requirements regarding the
due execution of Wills. We should not overlook the liberal trend of
the Civil Code in the manner of execution of Wills, the purpose of
which, in case of doubt is to prevent intestacy.

The underlying and fundamental objectives permeating the


provisions of the law on wills in this Project consists in the
liberalisation of the manner of their execution with the end in view
of giving the testator more freedom in expressing his last wishes,
but with sufficient safeguards and restrictions to prevent the
commission of fraud and the exercise of undue and improper
pressure and influence upon the testator.

This objective is in accord with the modern tendency with respect


to the formalities in the execution of wills.

The law has a tender regard for the will of the testator expressed in
his last will and testament on the ground that any disposition made
by the testator is better than that which the law can make. For this
reason, intestate succession is nothing more than a disposition
based upon the presumed will of the decedent

Thus, the prevailing policy is to require satisfaction of the legal


requirements in order to guard against fraud and bad faith but
without undue or unnecessary curtailment of testamentary
privilege. If a Will has been executed in substantial compliance
with the formalities of the law, and the possibility of bad faith and
fraud in the exercise thereof is obviated, said Will should be
admitted to probate.

If the testator, in executing his Will, attempts to comply with all


the requisites, although compliance is not literal, it is sufficient if
the objective or purpose sought to be accomplished by such
requisite is actually attained by the form followed by the testator.

The object of the solemnities surrounding the execution of wills is


to close the door against bad faith and fraud, to avoid substitution
of wills and to guaranty their truth and authenticity.

In particular, a complete date is required to provide against such


contingencies as that of two competing Wills executed on the same
day, or of a testator becoming insane on the day on which a Will
was executed. (Velasco v. Lopez) There is no such contingency
in this case.

We have carefully reviewed the records of this case and found no


evidence of bad faith and fraud in its execution nor was there any
substitution of Wills and Testaments. There is no question that the
holographic Will of the deceased Bibiana Roxas de Jesus was
entirely written, dated, and signed by the testatrix herself and in a
language known to her. There is also no question as to its
genuineness and due execution. All the children of the testatrix
agree on the genuineness of the holographic Will of their mother
and that she had the testamentary capacity at the time of the
execution of said Will.
The objection on the defect in the date is too technical to be
entertained.

As a general rule, the “date” in a holographic Will should include


the day, month, and year of its execution. However, when as in the
case at bar, there is no appearance of fraud, bad faith, undue
influence and pressure and the authenticity of the Will is
established and the only issue is whether or not the date “FEB./61”
appearing on the holographic Will is a valid compliance with
Article 810 of the Civil Code, probate of the holographic Will
should be allowed under the principle of substantial compliance.

3.Vda. De Perez v. Tolete, 232 SCRA 722

Facts:
Jose and Evelyn Cunanan, who became American citizens,
established a successful medical practice in New York, USA.

Jose executed a will bequeathing to his wife all his properties


wherever situated. In the event he would survive his wife, he
bequeathed all his property to his children and grandchildren with
Dr. Rafael G. Cunanan, Jr. as trustee. He appointed his wife as
executrix of his last will and testament and Dr. Rafael G. Cunanan,
Jr. as substitute executor.

The will also said that:


“If my wife, EVELYN PEREZ-CUNANAN, and I shall die under
such circumstances that there is not sufficient evidence to
determine the order of our deaths, then it shall be presumed that I
predeceased her, and my estate shall be administered and
distributed, in all respects, in accordance with such presumption”

Four days later, Evelyn executed her own will containing the same
quoted provision. "If my husband, JOSE F. CUNANAN, and I
shall die under such circumstances that there is not sufficient
evidence to determine the order of our deaths, then it shall be
presumed that he predeceased me, and my estate shall be
administered and distributed in all respects, in accordance with
such presumption”

3 years later Dr. Cunanan and his entire family perished when they
were trapped by fire that gutted their home.

Thereafter, Dr. Rafael G. Cunanan, Jr. as trustee and substitute


executor of the two wills, filed separate proceedings for the
probate thereof with the Court of NY. These two wills were
admitted to probate and letters testamentary were issued in his
favor.

Petitioner Salud, mother of Evelyn, filed a petition for the


reprobate of the two will ancillary to the probate proceedings in
NY. She asked to be the special administratrix of the deceased
couple. RTC issued letters of administration in her favor upon the
posting of a P10k bond. She posted the bond and took her oath.
As first act of administration, petitioner filed a motion praying that
the Phil Life Insurance Company be ordered to deliver the
proceeds of P50k. RTC granted the motion. Phil Life delivered the
proceeds.

Petitioner also moved that Dr. Rafael Cunanan SR (Rafael SR) be


ordered to deliver to her a Phil Trust Company passbook and
Family Savings Bank time deposit certificate.

The heirs of JOSE Cunanan (Cunanan Heirs) made their


appearance in court. They moved, in the interest of fair play, for
the deferment of the hearing on the motion to have Rafael SR to
deliver the above mentioned assets.

Eventually the RTC disallowed the reprobate of the 2 wills,


recalled the appointment of petitioner as special administratrix,
and required the submission by petitioner of an inventory of the
property received by her as special administratrix and declaring all
pending incidents moot and academic.

It reasoned out that petitioner failed to prove the law of New York
on procedure and allowance of wills, and the court had no way of
telling whether the wills were executed in accordance with the law
of New York. In the absence of such evidence, the presumption is
that the law of succession of the foreign country is the same as the
law of the Philippines. However, he noted, that there were only
two witnesses to the wills of the Cunanan spouses and the
Philippine law requires three witnesses and that the wills were not
signed on each and every page, a requirement of the Philippine
law.

Petitioner filed an MR on this disallowance.

Petitioner moved to be allowed to present further evidence on the


foreign law. Respondent Judge issued an order wherein he
conceded that insufficiency of evidence to prove the foreign law
was not a fatal defect and was curable by adducing additional
evidence. He granted petitioner 45 days to submit the evidence to
that effect.

However, without waiting for petitioner to adduce the additional


evidence, respondent Judge denied the MR.

Hence this petition claiming that the lower court erred in


disallowing the probate

Issue:
W/N the RTC erred in disallowing the reprobate of the wills - Yes,
remanded for reception of evidence to prove foreign law and
notice must be given to all heirs, devisees and legatees.

Held:
Yes, remanded for reception of evidence to prove foreign law and
notice must be given to all heirs, devisees and legatees.

The respective wills of the Cunanan spouses, who were American


citizens, will only be effective in this country upon compliance
with the following provision of the Civil Code of the Philippines:

Art. 816. The will of an alien who is abroad produces effect in the
Philippines if made with the formalities prescribed by the law of
the place in which he resides, or according to the formalities
observed in his country, or in conformity with those which this
Code prescribes.

Thus, proof that both wills conform with the formalities prescribed
by New York laws or by Philippine laws is imperative.

The evidence necessary for the reprobate or allowance of wills


which have been probated outside of the Philippines are as
follows:
(1) the due execution of the will in accordance with the foreign
laws;
(2) the testator has his domicile in the foreign country and not in
the Philippines;
(3) the will has been admitted to probate in such country;
(4) the fact that the foreign tribunal is a probate court, and
(5) the laws of a foreign country on procedure and allowance of
wills

Petitioner must have perceived this omission as in fact she moved


for more time to submit the pertinent procedural and substantive
New York laws but which request respondent Judge just glossed
over. While the probate of a will is a special proceeding wherein
courts should relax the rules on evidence, the goal is to receive the
best evidence of which the matter is susceptible before a purported
will is probated or denied probate.

There is merit in petitioner’s insistence that the separate wills of


the Cunanan spouses should be probated jointly. Respondent
JudgeÊs view that the Rules on allowance of wills is couched in
singular terms and therefore should be interpreted to mean that
there should be separate probate proceedings for the wills of the
Cunanan spouses is too literal and simplistic an approach. Such
view overlooks the provisions of Section 2, Rule 1 of the Revised
Rules of Court, which advise that the rules shall be liberally
construed in order to promote their object and to assist the parties
in obtaining just, speedy, and inexpensive determination of every
action and proceeding.

What the law expressly prohibits is the making of joint wills either
for the testatorsÊ reciprocal benefit or for the benefit of a third
person (Civil Code of the Philippines, Article 818). In the case at
bench, the Cunanan spouses executed separate wills.

This petition cannot be completely resolved without touching on a


very glaring fact — petitioner has always considered herself the
sole heir of Dr. Evelyn Perez Cunanan and because she does not
consider herself an heir of Dr. Jose F. Cunanan, she noticeably
failed to notify his heirs of the filing of the proceedings. Thus,
even in the instant petition, she only impleaded respondent Judge,
forgetting that a judge whose order is being assailed is merely a
nominal or formal party.

The rule that the court having jurisdiction over the reprobate of a
will shall cause notice thereof to be given as in case of an original
will presented for allowance means that with regard to notices, the
will probated abroad should be treated as if it were an original will
or a will that is presented for probate for the first time.

Accordingly, compliance with Sections 3 and 4 of Rule 76,


which require publication and notice by mail or personally to
the known heirs, legatees, and devisees of the testator resident
in the Philippines and to the executor, if he is not the petitioner,
are required.

The brothers and sisters of Dr. Jose F. Cunanan, contrary to


petitioner’s claim, are entitled to notices of the time and place for
proving the wills. Under Section 4 of Rule 76 of the Revised Rules
of Court, the court shall also cause copies of the notice of the time
and place fixed for proving the will to be addressed to the
designated or other known heirs, legatees, and devisees of the
testator.

WHEREFORE, the questioned Order is SET ASIDE. Respondent


Judge shall allow petitioner reasonable time within which to
submit evidence needed for the joint probate of the wills of the
Cunanan spouses and see to it that the brothers and sisters of Dr.
Jose F. Cunanan are given all notices and copies of all pleadings
pertinent to the probate proceedings.
SO ORDERED.

Rule 77
Suntay v. Suntay, 95 Phil. 500 (1954)

Facts:
Jose Suntay, a Filipino citizen and resident of the Philippines, died
in the city of Amoy, Fookien province, Republic of China, leaving
1. real and personal properties in the Philippines and
2. a house in Amoy, Fookien province, China, and
3. children by the first marriage had with the late Manuela T. Cruz,
and
4. a child named Silvino by the second marriage had with Maria
Natividad Lim Billian who survived him.

Intestate proceedings were instituted in the Court of First Instance


of Bulacan (special proceedings No. 4892) and after hearing letters
of administration were issued to Apolonio Suntay (a child from the
first marriage). After the latter's death Federico C. Suntay was
appointed administrator of the estate.

On 15 October 1934 the surviving widow filed a petition in the


Court of First Instance of Bulacan for the probate of a last will and
testament claimed to have been executed and signed in the
Philippines on November 1929 by the late Jose B. Suntay. This
petition was denied because of the loss of said will after the filing
of the petition and before the hearing thereof and of the
insufficiency of the evidence to establish the loss of the said will.
An appeal was taken from said order denying the probate of the
will and this Court held the evidence before the probate court
sufficient to prove the loss of the will and remanded the case to the
Court of First Instance of Bulacan for further proceedings.

In spite of the fact that a commission from the probate court was
issued on 24 April 1937 for the taking of the deposition of Go Toh,
an attesting witness to the will, on 7 February 1938 the probate
court denied a motion for continuance of the hearing sent by
cablegram from China by the surviving widow and dismissed the
petition.

In the meantime the Pacific War supervened. After liberation,


claiming that he had found among the files, records and documents
of his late father a will and testament in Chinese characters
executed and signed by the deceased on 4 January 1931 and that
the same was filed, recorded and probated in the Amoy district
court, Province of Fookien, China, Silvino Suntay filed a petition
in the intestate proceedings praying for the probate of the will
executed in the Philippines on November 1929 (Exhibit B) or of
the will executed in Amoy, Fookien, China, on 4 January 1931
(Exhibit N).

Issue:
W/N the will executed in China should be allowed here in the
Philippines - No.

Held:

As to the will claimed to have been executed on 4 January 1931 in


Amoy, China, the law on the point is Rule 78,
Section 1. of the rule provides:
Wills proved and allowed in a foreign country, according to the
laws of such country, may be allowed, filed, and recorded by the
proper Court of First Instance in the Philippines.

Section 2. provides:
When a copy of such will and the allowance thereof, duly
authenticated, is filed with a petition for allowance in the
Philippines, by the executor or other person interested, in the court
having jurisdiction, such court shall fix a time and place for the
hearing, and cause notice thereof to be given as in case of an
original will presented for allowance.

Section 3 provides:
If it appears at the hearing that the will should be allowed in the
Philippines, the court shall so allow it, and a certificate of its
allowance, signed by the Judge, and attested by the seal of the
court, to which shall be attached a copy of the will, shall be filed
and recorded by the clerk, and the will shall have the same effect
as if originally proved and allowed in such court.

The fact that the municipal district court of Amoy, China, is a


probate court must be proved. The law of China on procedure in
the probate or allowance of wills must also be proved. The legal
requirements for the execution of a valid will in China in 1931
should also be established by competent evidence. There is no
proof on these points.

The unverified answers to the questions propounded by counsel for


the appellant to the Consul General of the Republic of China set
forth in Exhibits R-1 and R-2, objected to by counsel for the
appellee, are inadmissible, because apart from the fact that the
office of Consul General does not qualify and make the person
who holds it an expert on the Chinese law on procedure in probate
matters, if the same be admitted, the adverse party would be
deprived of his right to confront and cross-examine the witness.
Consuls are appointed to attend to trade matters.

Moreover, it appears that all the proceedings had in the municipal


district court of Amoy were for the purpose of taking the testimony
of two attesting witnesses to the will and that the order of the
municipal district court of Amoy does not purport to probate the
will.

In the absence of proof that the municipal district court of Amoy is


a probate court and on the Chinese law of procedure in probate
matters, it may be presumed that the proceedings in the matter of
probating or allowing a will in the Chinese courts are the same as
those provided for in our laws on the subject. It is a proceeding in
rem and for the validity of such proceedings personal notice or by
publication or both to all interested parties must be made. The
interested parties in the case were known to reside in the
Philippines. The evidence shows that no such notice was received
by the interested parties residing in the Philippines. The
proceedings had in the municipal district court of Amoy, China,
may be likened to a deposition or to a perpetuation of testimony,
and even if it were so it does not measure or come up to the
standard of such proceedings in the Philippines for lack of notice
to all interested parties and the proceedings were held at the back
of such interested parties.

The order of the municipal district court of Amoy, China does not
purport to probate or allow the will which was the subject of the
proceedings. In view thereof, the will and the alleged probate
thereof cannot be said to have been done in accordance with the
accepted basic and fundamental concepts and principles followed
in the probate and allowance of wills. Consequently, the
authenticated transcript of proceedings held in the municipal
district court of Amoy, China, cannot be deemed and accepted as
proceedings leading to the probate or allowance of a will and,
therefore, the will referred to therein cannot be allowed, filed and
recorded by a competent court of this country.

Where it appears that the proceedings in the court of a foreign


country were held for the purpose of taking the testimony of two
attesting witnesses to the will and the order of the probate court did
not purport to allow the will, the proceedings cannot be deemed to
be for the probate of a will, as it was not done in accordance with
the basic and fundamental concepts and principles followed in the
probate and allowance of wills. Consequently, the will referred to
therein cannot be allowed, filed and recorded by a competent court
of this country.

The decree appealed from is affirmed, without pronouncement as


to costs.
Pablo, Bengzon, A. Reyes, Labrador and Concepcion, JJ., concur.
Rule 78 – Letters Testamentary and of Administration

Gonzales v. Aguinaldo, 190 SCRA 112 (1990)

Facts:
Intestate proceedings involving the estate of Dona Favis was filed
before the RTC. Favis was survived by 4 children who are her only
heirs, namely, Asterio Favis, Beatriz F. Gonzales, Teresa F. Olbes,
and Cecilia Favis- Gomez.

RTC appointed petitioner Beatriz Gonzales and private respondent


Teresa Olbes (heirs of Favis) as co-administratrices of the estate.

While petitioner Beatriz F. Gonzales was in the United States


accompanying her ailing husband who was receiving medical
treatment in that country, private respondent Teresa Olbes filed a
motion to remove Beatriz F. Gonzales as co-administratrix, on the
ground that she is incapable or unsuitable to discharge the trust and
had committed acts and omissions detrimental to the interest of the
estate and the heirs. Copy of said motion was served upon
petitioner's then counsel of record, Atty. Manuel Castro who, since
2 June 1984, had been suspended by the Supreme Court from the
practice of law throughout the Philippines.

RTC required Beatriz F. Gonzales and the other parties to file their
opposition, if any, thereto. Only Asterio Favis opposed the removal
of Beatriz F. Gonzales as co-administratrix as the latter was still in
the US.

RTC cancelled the letters of administration granted to Beatriz F.


Gonzales and retained Teresa Olbes as the administratrix of the
estate of the late Ramona Gonzales, holding that:

“In appointing them, the court was of the opinion that it would be
to the best interest of the estate if two administrators who are the
children of the deceased would jointly administer the same.
Unfortunately, as events have shown, the two administrators have
not seen eye to eye with each other and most of the time they have
been at loggerheads with each other to the prejudice of the estate.
Beatriz F, Gonzales has been absent from the country since
October, 1984 as she is in the United States as stated in the motion
and opposition of Asterio Favis dated December 11,1984, and she
has not returned even up to this date so that Teresa F. Olbes has
been left alone to administer the estate. Under these circumstances,
and in order that the estate will be administered in an orderly and
efficient manner, the court believes that there should be now only
one administrator of the estate.”

Hence this petition by Gonzales claiming that the RTC committed


GAD as her removal was not shown by respondents to be anchored
on any of the grounds provided under Section 2, Rule 82, Rules of
Court, which states:

"Sec. 2. Court may remove or accept resignation of executor or


administrator. Proceedings upon death, resignation or removal—If
an executor or administrator neglects to render his account and
settle the estate according to law, or to perform an order or
judgment of the court, or a duty expressly provided by these rules,
or absconds, or becomes insane, or otherwise incapable or
unsuitable to discharge the trust, the court may remove him, or in
its discretion, may permit him to resign.”

Issue:
W/N the RTC judge erred in removing Gonzales as co-
administratrix - Yes

Held:
Yes

The rule is that if


1. no executor is named in the will, or
2. the named executor or executors are incompetent, refuse the
trust, or fail to give bond, or
3. a person dies intestate,
the court must appoint an administrator of the estate of the
deceased who shall act as representative not only of the court
appointing him but also of the heirs and the creditors of the estate.

In the exercise of its discretion, the probate court may appoint one,
two or more co-administrators to have the benefit of their
judgment and perhaps at all times to have different interests
represented.

In the appointment of the administrator of the estate of a deceased


person, the principal consideration reckoned with is the interest in
said estate of the one to be appointed as administrator. This is the
same consideration which Section 6 of Rule 78 takes into account
in establishing the order of preference in the appointment of
administrators for the estate. The underlying assumption behind
this rule is that those who will reap the benefit of a wise, speedy,
economical administration of the estate, or, on the other hand,
suffer the consequences of waste, improvidence or
mismanagement, have the highest interest and most influential
motive to administer the estate correctly.

Administrators have such an interest in the execution of their trust


as entitle them to protection from removal without just cause.
Hence, Section 2 of Rule 82 of the Rules of Court provides the
legal and specific causes authorizing the court to remove an
administrator

While it is conceded that the court is invested with ample


discretion in the removal of an administrator, it however must have
some fact legally before it in order to justify a removal. There must
be evidence of an act or omission on the part of the administrator
not conformable to or in disregard of the rules or the orders of the
court, which it deems sufficient or substantial to warrant the
removal of the administrator. In making such a determination, the
court must exercise good judgment, guided by law and precedents.

In the present case, the court a quo did not base the removal of the
petitioner as co-administratrix on any of the causes specified in
respondent’s motion for relief of the petitioner. Neither did it dwell
on, nor determine the validity of the charges brought against
petitioner by respondent Olbes. The court based the removal of the
petitioner on the fact that in the administration of the estate,
conflicts and misunderstandings have existed between petitioner
and respondent Teresa Olbes which allegedly have prejudiced the
estate, and the added circumstance that petitioner had been absent
from the country since October 1984, and up to 15 January 1985,
the date of the questioned order.

Certainly, it is desirable that the administration of the deceased's


estate be marked with harmonious relations between co-
administrators. But for mere disagreements between such joint
fiduciaries, without misconduct, one’s removal is not favoured.
Such conflicts, if unresolved by the coadministrators, can be
resolved by the probate court to the best interest of the estate and
its heirs.

Petitioner Beatriz F. Gonzales is as interested as respondent Olbes


and the other heirs in that the properties of the estate be duly
administered and conserved for the benefit of the heirs; and there
is as yet no ground to believe that she has prejudiced or is out to
prejudice said estate to warrant the probate court into removing
petitioner as co- administratrix.

Petitioner explained to the court a quo that her absence from the
country was due to the fact that she had to accompany her ailing
husband to the United States for medical treatment. It appears too
that petitioner's absence from the country was known to
respondent Olbes, and that the latter and petitioner Gonzales had
continually maintained correspondence with each other with
respect to the administration of the estate during the petitioner's
absence from the country

The above facts, we note, show that petitioner had never


abandoned her role as co-administratrix of the estate nor had she
been remiss in the fulfilment of her duties. Suffice it to state,
temporary absence in the state does not disqualify one to be an
administrator of the estate. Thus, as held in re Mc Knight's Will, a
temporary residence outside of the state, maintained for the benefit
of the health of the executors' family, is not such a removal from
the state as to necessitate his removal as executor. "x x x. It seems
quite clear that a temporary absence from the state on account of ill
health, or on account of business, or for purposes of travel or
pleasure, would not necessarily establish the fact that an executor
'has removed' from the estate, within the intent of the statute. The
learned surrogate was evidently satisfied that the sojourn of these
executors in New Jersey was nothing more than a departure from
the state for the benefit of relatives, not designed to constitute a
permanent change of abode, and contemplating a return to New
York as soon as the purpose of their absence should be
accomplished. In this view, I am inclined to think that he was right
in refusing to hold that he was constrained to revoke the letters by
the provisions of the Code to which I have referred. I therefore
advise an affirmance of the order.”

Finally, it seems that the court a quo seeks refuge in the fact that
two (2) of the other three (3) heirs of the estate of the deceased
(Teresa Olbes and Cecilia Favis Gomez) have opposed the
retention or re-appointment of petitioner as co-administratrix of the
estate. Suffice it to state that the removal of an administrator does
not lie on the whims, caprices and dictates of the heirs or
beneficiaries of the estate, nor on the belief of the court that it
would result in orderly and efficient administration. In re William's
Adm'r., the court held: "A county court having appointed a stranger
administrator as expressly authorized by Ky. St. 3897, after the
relatives of decedent had lost their right of precedence, could not
remove the appointee merely because of the request of relatives
and the belief upon the part of the court that the best interest of
deceased would be thereby subserved, since the administrator had
such an interest as entitled him to protection from removal without
cause."

Rule 79

1. Saguinsin v. Lindayag – not an heir or creditor, no standing

Facts:
Maria V. Lindayag died intestate.

Her sister, Isabel V. Saguinsin, filed with the Court of First


Instance a verified petition for the issuance in her favor of letters
of administration over the estate of said deceased, alleging, among
other things,
1. that the latter left real and personal properties situated in the
provinces of Zambales and Bulacan worth approximately
P100,000.00;
2. that the names, ages and residences of her surviving heirs were:
(1) Dionisio Lindayag, 60 years of age, surviving husband,
residing at Olongapo, Zambales,
(2) Isabel V. Saguinsin, 54 years of age, sister of the deceased,
residing at Hagonoy, Bulacan,
(3) Aurea V. Sacdalan, 46 years of age, sister of the deceased,
and
(4) Ines V. Calayag, 70 years of age, sister of the deceased, both
residing at Paombong, Bulacan; and
3. that, as far as petitioner knew, the decedent left no debts at the
time of her death.

Dionisio V. Lindayag, the surviving spouse, in his behalf and in


representation of the minors Jesus, Concepcion, and Catherine, all
surnamed Lindayag, filed a motion to dismiss the petition on the
ground of lack of interest in the estate, she being neither heir nor a
creditor thereof.

The motion alleged that the late Maria V. Lindayag was survived
by her husband—the movant—and their legally adopted minor
children named Jesus, Concepcion, and Catherine, all surnamed
Lindayag, the decedent having left no legitimate natural or
illegitimate child.

In opposing the motion to dismiss petitioner argued that only the


facts alleged in the petition should be considered in determining its
sufficiency.
RTC dismissed the petition for the issuance of letters of
administration, holding among others, that
1. the herein petitioner is obviously not an heir and has no interest
in the estate; and
2. the surviving heirs oppose the instant petition on the ground that
they want to settle the estate extra-judicially among them to avoid
unnecessary expenses in prosecuting this case

Issue:
W/N petitioner sister is an interest person in the estate of the
decedent - No

Held:
No.

According to Section 2, Rule 80 of the Rules of Court, a petition


for letters of administration must be filed by an “interested
person”. An interested party has been defined in this connection as
one who would be benefited by the estate, such as an heir, or one
who has a claim against the estate, such as a creditor. And it is well
settled in this jurisdiction that in civil actions as well as special
proceedings, the interest required in order that a person may be a
party thereto must be material and direct, and not merely indirect
or contingent.

Where it is undisputed that the decedent left a husband and three


legally adopted children, a petition for issuance of letters of
administration in favor of the sister of said decedent was properly
dismissed for lack of interest in the estate, she being neither an heir
nor a creditor thereof.

An interested party has been defined in this connection as one who


would be benefited by the estate, such as an heir, or one who has a
claim against the estate, such as a creditor (Intestate Estate of Julio
Magbanwa, 40 O.G. 1171). And it is well settled in this
jurisdiction that in civil actions as well as special proceedings, the
interest required in order that a person may be a party thereto must
be material and direct, and not merely indirect or contingent.

IN VIEW OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the order appealed from is


affirmed, with costs.

2. Pilipinas Shell v. Dumlao, 206 SCRA 40

Facts:
Ricardo M. Gonzalez, District Manager of Shell Philippines, Inc.
for Mindanao (hereinafter referred to as Shell), filed a Petition for
Letters of Administration with the then Court of First Instance
(now Regional Trial Court) praying therein that he be appointed
judicial administrator of the estate of the deceased Regino
Canonoy.

In their Opposition to the issuance of letters of administration to


Gonzalez filed on 21 March 1973, private respondents, who are
heirs of Regino Canonoy, allege that:
1. Gonzalez “is a complete stranger to the intestate estate” of
Regino Canonoy; he is “not even a creditor” of the estate;
2. he is a resident of Davao City and thus if appointed as
administrator of the estate, the bulk of which is located in Butuan
City, “he would not be able to perform his duties efficiently;” and
3. he is an employee of Shell Philippines, Inc., an alleged creditor
of the estate, and so “he would not be able to properly and
effectively protect the interest of the estate in case of conflicts.”

They, however, “propose” and pray that since Bonifacio Canonoy,


one of Regino’s sons, enjoys preference in appointment pursuant to
Section 6, Rule 78 of the Rules of Court, he should “be appointed
administrator of the said intestate estate and the corresponding
letters of administration be issued in his favor.”

RTC appointed Bonifacio Canonoy as administrator of the intestate


estate of Regino Canonoy, having found him competent to act as
such. None of the parties moved to reconsider this Order or
appealed therefrom.

On 23 November 1973, herein petitioner Shell, then known as


Shell Philippines, Inc., filed its claim against the estate of the
deceased Regino Canonoy.

The duly appointed administrator, Bonifacio Canonoy, filed a


Motion to Dismiss the claim of Shell, on the ground that the court
did not acquire jurisdiction over the subject matter and nature
thereof because the petitioner therein, Mr. Gonzalez, is not the
“interested person” contemplated by Section 2, Rule 79 of the
Rules
Petitioner claims that the RTC has jurisdiction over the case to
issue letters of administration as the interest of Gonzalez in the
estate is not a jurisdictional fact that needs to be alleged in the
petition. If at all, Gonzalez’ lack of interest in the estate of the
deceased only affected his competence to be appointed
administrator.

RTC, finding the motion to be well-taken and meritorious,


dismissed the case.

Issue:
W/N RTC erred in dismissing petitioner’s claim against the estate
on the ground that petitioner therein, Ricardo Gonzalez, is not an
“interested person,” and that, since such interest is a jurisdictional
requirement, the trial court acquired no jurisdiction over the case -
Yes

Held:
Yes

Section 2, Rule 79 of the Rules of Court provides:

“SEC. 2. Contents of petition for letters of administration.—A


petition for letters of administration must be filed by an interested
person and must show, so far as known to the petitioner:
(a) The jurisdictional facts;
(b) The names, ages, and residences of the heirs, and the names
and residences of the creditors, of the decedent;
(c) The probable value and character of the property of the estate;
(d) The name of the person for whom letters of administration are
prayed.
But no defect in the petition shall render void the issuance of
letters of administration.”

The jurisdictional facts alluded to are:


1. the death of the testator,
2. his residence at the time of his death in the province where the
probate court is sitting or, if he is an inhabitant of a foreign
country, his having left his estate in such province. These facts are
amply enumerated in the petition filed by Gonzalez.

The fact of death of the intestate and of his residence within the
country are foundation facts upon which all the subsequent
proceedings in the administration of the estate rest, and that if the
intestate was not an inhabitant of the state at the time of his death,
and left no assets in the state, and none came into it afterwards, no
jurisdiction is conferred on the court to grant letters of
administration in any county.

Clearly, the allegation that a petitioner seeking letters of


administration is an interested person, does not fall within the
enumeration of jurisdictional facts. Of course, since the opening
sentence of the section requires that the petition must be filed by
an interested person, it goes without saying that a motion to
dismiss may lie not on the basis of lack of jurisdiction on the part
of the court, but rather on the ground of lack of legal capacity to
institute the proceedings.
This is precisely what happened in Saguinsin vs. Lindayag, where
the dismissal of a petition for letters of administration was
affirmed because the petitioner “is not an heir of her deceased
sister and, therefore, has no material and direct interest in her
estate.” In the said case, this Court defined an interested party as
one who would be benefited by the estate, such as an heir, or one
who has a claim against the estate, such as a creditor; this interest
must be material and direct, not merely indirect or contingent.

The Saguinsin doctrine is not, however, without exception. An


objection to a petition for letters of administration on that ground
may be barred by waiver or estoppel.

Private respondents herein did not file a motion to dismiss the


petition filed by Gonzalez on the ground of lack of capacity to sue;
they instead filed an Opposition which, unfortunately, did not ask
for the dismissal of the petition but merely opposed the issuance of
letters of administration in favor of Gonzalez because, among
other reasons, he is a stranger to the estate. The Opposition also
proposed that Bonifacio Canonoy, one of the children of the
deceased Regino Canonoy, be appointed administrator of the
latter’s intestate estate. The failure to move for a dismissal
amounted to a waiver of the above-mentioned ground.

By proposing that Bonifacio Canonoy be appointed as


administrator instead of Mr. Gonzalez, private respondents have in
fact approved or ratified the filing of the petition by the latter.
Clearly, therefore, not only had the administrator and the rest of
the private respondents voluntarily submitted to the jurisdiction of
the trial court, they even expressly affirmed and invoked such
jurisdiction in praying for reliefs and remedies in their favor,
namely: (a) denial of Gonzalez’ prayer to be appointed as
administrator, (b) appointment of Bonifacio Canonoy as
administrator, (c) denial of petitioner Shell’s amended claim
against the estate, and (d) the granting of the counterclaim. Hence,
they cannot now be heard to question the jurisdiction of the trial
court. While it may be true that jurisdiction may be raised at any
stage of the proceedings, a party who has affirmed and invoked it
in a particular matter to secure an affirmative relief cannot be
allowed to afterwards deny that same jurisdiction to escape
penalty.

WHEREFORE, the instant petition is hereby GRANTED and the


Order of respondent Judge of 8 November 1975 in SP PROC. No.
343 is hereby SET ASIDE. The court below is further ordered to
hear and decide petitioner’s claim against the estate in said case,
unless supervening events had occurred making it unnecessary,
and to conduct therein further proceedings pursuant to the Rules of
Court until the case is closed and terminated. Costs against private
respondents. IT IS SO ORDERED.

Rule 80 – Special Administrator

1. De Guzman v. Angeles 162 SCRA 347


Facts:
Private respondent Elaine G. de Guzman filed a petition for the
settlement of the intestate estate of Manolito de Guzman before the
RTC Makati.

The private respondent filed a motion for writ of possession over


five (5) vehicles registered under the name of Manolito de
Guzman, alleged to be conjugal properties of the de Guzmans but
which are at present in the possession of the private respondent’s
father-in-law, herein petitioner Pedro de Guzman. The motion
stated that as co-owner and heir, the private respondent must have
the possession of said vehicles in order to preserve the assets of her
late husband.

On the same day, the lower court issued an order setting for
hearing the motion on May 27, 1987 directing the deputy sheriff to
notify petitioner Pedro de Guzman at the expense of the private
respondent.

The scheduled May 27, 1987 hearing was postponed on motion of


petitioner’s counsel, Atty. Ricardo Fojas. The petitioner was also
given three (3) days from May 27, 1987 to give his comment on
the motion for a writ of possession. The hearing was reset to June
5, 1987 at 3:00 p.m.

On May 29, 1987, the petitioner’s counsel filed a notice of


appearance and an “Urgent Motion For Extension of Time to File
an Opposition and for Resetting of the Hearing.” The motion was
granted and the petitioner was given five (5) days from receipt of
the order within which to file his opposition to the motion for a
writ of possession. The hearing was reset to June 15, 1987 at 2:00
in the afternoon.

In the meantime, on May 28, 1987, the private respondent filed her
“Ex-Parte Motion to be appointed as Special Administratrix of the
Estate of Manolito de Guzman.” The aforesaid motion was set for
hearing on June 5, 1987. In this same order, the lower court
directed that all parties in the case be notified. However, no notice
of the order was given to the petitioner.

The lower court granted the private respondent’s motion to be


appointed as special administratrix.

The lower court issued another order appointing Deputy Sheriffs


Honorio Santos and Jose B. Flora together with some military men
and/or policemen to assist her in preserving the estate of Manolito
de Guzman.

Trouble ensued when the respondents tried to enforce the above


order. The petitioner resisted when Deputy Sheriffs Jose B. Flora
and Honorio Santos tried to take the subject vehicles on the ground
that they were his personal properties. According to the petitioner,
this resulted in a “near shoot-out between members of the Makati
Police, who were to maintain peace and order, and the CAPCOM
soldiers who were ostensibly aiding respondent sheriffs and Elaine
G. de Guzman” and that “the timely arrival of Mayor Jejomar
Binay of Makati defused the very volatile situation which resulted
in an agreement between the parties that the bulldozer, sought to
be taken, be temporarily placed in the custody of Mayor Binay,
while the parties seek clarification of the order from respondent
Judge.

The instant petition was filed to annul the lower court’s orders
dated June 5, 1987 and June 8, 1987. In a resolution dated June 10,
1987, we issued a temporary restraining order enjoining the
respondent court from enforcing the two questioned orders. In
another resolution dated October 28, 1987, we gave due course to
the petition.

The petitioner claims that


1. the respondent court did not acquire jurisdiction to appoint a
special administratrix because the petition for the settlement of the
estate of Manolito de Guzman was not yet set for hearing and
published for three consecutive weeks, as mandated by the Rules
of Court.
2. the appointment of a special administratrix constitutes an abuse
of discretion for having been made without giving petitioner and
other parties an opportunity to oppose said appointment.

Issue:
W/N the probate court may appoint a special administratrix and
issue a writ of possession of alleged properties of a decedent for
the preservation of the estate in a petition for the settlement of the
intestate estate of the said deceased person even before the probate
court causes notice to be served upon all interested parties pursuant
to section 3, Rule 79 of the Revised Rules of Court - No.

Held:
No.

The probate court must cause notice through publication of the


petition after it receives the same. The purpose of this notice is to
bring all the interested persons within the court’s jurisdiction so
that the judgment therein becomes binding on all the world.

Where no notice as required by Section 3, Rule 79 of the Rules of


Court has been given to persons believed to have an interest in the
estate of the deceased person; the proceeding for the settlement of
the estate is void and should be annulled. The requirement as to
notice is essential to the validity of the proceeding in order that no
person may be deprived of his right to property without due
process of law.

Verily, notice through publication of the petition for the settlement


of the estate of a deceased person is jurisdictional, the absence of
which makes court orders affecting other persons, subsequent to
the petition void and subject to annulment.

In the instant case, no notice as mandated by section 3, Rule 79 of


the Revised Rules of Court was caused to be given by the probate
court before it acted on the motions of the private respondent to be
appointed as special administratrix, to issue a writ of possession of
alleged properties of the deceased person in the widow’s favor, and
to grant her motion for assistance to preserve the estate of
Manolito de Guzman.

The “explanation” which we required of the respondent Judge for


his apparent haste in issuing the questioned orders, states: xxx xxx
xxx “10. In issuing the subject Orders, undersigned acted in the
honest conviction that it would be to the best interest of the estate
without unduly prejudicing any interested party or third person.
Any delay in issuing the said Orders might have prejudiced the
estate for the properties may be lost, wasted or dissipated in the
meantime.” (Rollo, p. 86) xxx xxx xxx

This explanation while seemingly plausible does not sufficiently


explain the disregard of the Rule. If indeed, the respondent court
had the welfare of both the estate and the persons who have
interest in the estate, then it could have caused notice to be given
immediately as mandated by the Revised Rules of Court. All
interested persons including herein petitioner who is the biggest
creditor of the estate listed in the petition (P850,240.80) could
have participated in the proceedings especially so, because the
respondent immediately filed a motion to have herself appointed as
administratrix.

A special administrator has been defined as the “representative of


decedent appointed by the probate court to care for and preserve
his estate until an executor or general administrator is appointed.”

The petitioner as creditor of the estate has a similar interest in the


preservation of the estate as the private respondent who happens to
be the widow of deceased Manolito de Guzman. Hence, the
necessity of notice as mandated by the Rules of Court. It is not
clear from the records exactly what emergency would have ensued
if the appointment of an administrator was deferred at least until
the most interested parties were given notice of the proposed
action. No unavoidable delay in the appointment of a regular
administrator is apparent from the records.

The position of special administrator, by the very nature of the


powers granted thereby, is one of trust and confidence. It is a
fiduciary position and, therefore, requires a comprehensive
determination of the suitability of the applicant to such position.
Hence, under Philippine jurisprudence, it has been settled that the
same fundamental and legal principles governing the choice of a
regular administrator should be taken in choosing the special
administrator.

In order to fully and correctly ascertain the suitability of the


applicant to the trust, a hearing is obviously necessary wherein the
applicant can prove his qualifications and at the same time
affording oppositors, given notice of such hearing and application,
the opportunity to oppose or contest such application.

Moreover, a hearing is necessary in order to fully determine the


suitability of the applicant to the trust, by giving him the
opportunity to prove his qualifications and affording oppositors, if
any, to contest the said application. Since the position of special
administrator is a very sensitive one which requires trust and
confidence, it is essential that the suitability of the applicant be
ascertained in a hearing with due notice to all oppositors who may
object precisely to the applicant’s suitability to the trust

If emergency situations threatening the dissipation of the assets


of an estate justify a court’s immediately taking some kind of
temporary action even without the required notice, no such
emergency is shown in this case. The need for the proper notice
even for the appointment of a special administrator is apparent
from the circumstances of this case.

Notes: Notice and publication are the minimum. Grave emergency


EXC.

2. Corona v. CA, 116 SCRA 316

Facts:
Dolores Luchangco Vitug died in New York, U.S.A., leaving two
Wills:
1. one, a holographic Will dated October 3, 1980, which excluded
her husband, respondent Romarico G. Vitug, as one of her heirs,
and
2. the other, a formal Will sworn to on October 24, 1980, or about
three weeks thereafter, which
(a) expressly disinherited her husband Romarico “for reason of
his improper and immoral conduct amounting to concubinage,
which is a ground for legal separation under Philippine Law”, and
(b) appointed Rowena F. Corona, herein petitioner, as her
Executrix.
Rowena filed a petition for the probate of the Wills before the RTC
and for the appointment of Nenita P. Alonte as Administrator
because she (Rowena) is presently employed in the United Nations
in New York City.

Upon Rowena’s urgent Motion, the Probate Court appointed


Nenita P. Alonte as Special Administratrix, upon a P100,000.00
bond.

The surviving husband, Romarico Vitug, filed an “Opposition and


Motion” and prayed that the Petition for Probate be denied and that
the two Wills be disallowed on the ground that they were procured
through undue and improper pressure and influence, having been
executed at a time when the decedent was seriously ill and under
the medical care of Dr. Antonio P. Corona, petitioner’s husband,
and that the holographic Will impaired his legitime. Romarico
further prayed for his appointment as Special Administrator
because the Special Adininistratrix appointed is not related to the
heirs and has no interest to be protected, besides, the surviving
spouse is qualified to administer.

Nenita P. Alonte posted her bond and took her oath of office before
a Notary Public.

The Probate Court set aside its Order of December 2, 1980


appointing Nenita as Special Administratrix, and appointed instead
the surviving husband, Romarico, as Special Administrator with a
bond of P200,000.00, essentially for the reasons that
1. under Section 6, Rule 78, of the Rules of Court, the surviving
spouse is first in the order of preference for appointment as
Administrator as he has an interest in the estate;
2. the disinheritance of the surviving spouse is not among the
grounds of disqualification for appointment as Administrator;
3. the next of kin is appointed only where the surviving spouse is
not competent or is unwilling to serve besides the fact that the
Executrix appointed, is not the next of kin but merely a niece, and
4. the decedent’s estate is nothing more than half of the
unliquidated conjugal partnership property.

Petitioner moved for reconsideration with an alternate Motion for


the appointment of co-Special Administrators. RTC denied.

Issue:
W/N Alonte should be appointed as co-Special Administrator - Yes

Held:
Yes.

This Court, in resolving to give due course to the Petition taking


into account the allegations, arguments and issues raised by the
parties, is of the considered opinion that petitioner’s nominee,
Nenita F. Alonte, should be appointed as co-Special Administrator.
The executrix’s choice of Special Administrator, considering her
own inability to serve and the wide latitude of discretion given her
by the testatrix in her will (Annex “A-1), is entitled to the highest
consideration. Objections to Nenita’s appointment on grounds of
impracticality and lack of kinship are overshadowed by the fact
that justice and equity demand that the side of the deceased wife
and the faction of the surviving husband be represented in the
management of the decedent’s estate.

En passant, it is apropos to remind the Special Administrators that


while they may have respective interests to protect, they are
officers of the Court subject to the supervision and control of the
Probate Court and are expected to work for the best interests of the
entire estate, its smooth administration, and its earliest settlement.

WHEREFORE, modifying the judgment under review, the Court


of First Instance of Rizal, Branch VI, is hereby ordered, in Special
Proceedings No. 9398 pending before it, to appoint Nenita F.
Alonte as co-Special Administrator, properly bonded, who shall
act as such jointly with the other Special Administrator on all
matters affecting the estate.
No costs.

[Notes: Court can do away with preference when there are good
reasons. ]

Rule 86 – Claims against the Estate

1. Echaus v. Hon. Blanco, PCIB, and Magno 179 SCRA 704

Facts:
Petitioner Echaus, in her own behalf and as Administratrix of the
intestate estate of her deceased father Luis Puentevella, assisted by
her husband, Rene Echaus, filed a complaint on May 30, 1962
against Charles Newton Hodges (C. N. Hodges) praying for an
1. accounting of the business covering the Ba-Ta Subdivision,
2. the recovery of her share in the profits and remaining assets of
their business and
3. the payment of expenses and moral and exemplary damages

The complaint was filed before the Court of First Instance of


Negros Occidental. (CIVIL CASE)

Trial on the merits commenced on December 7, 1962, with the


testimony of Angelina Echaus.

Sometime thereafter, counsel for C. N. Hodges manifested that


defendant C. N. Hodges died on December 25, 1962. No motion to
dismiss was filed by C. N. Hodges’ counsel. On February 14,
1964, the trial court ordered the substitution of the Philippine
Commercial and Industrial Bank (PCIB), as administrator of
the estate of deceased C. N. Hodges, as party defendant. No
objection to the order was interposed by PCIB.

A petition for the settlement of the estate of C. N. Hodges was


instituted before the Court of First Instance of Iloilo. (SPECIAL
PROCEEDINGS)

A notice to creditors was published in “Yuhum” a newspaper of


general circulation in its issues of March 13, 20 and 27, 1963.

On November 12, 1966, the parties in Civil Case No. 6628


submitted a stipulation of facts and submitted the case for decision
on the basis of said stipulation of facts which, among others,
indicated that the parties shall accept the CFI’s decision as final.

CFI ruled for Echaus. CFI also issued a writ of execution against
PCIB. However, the writ was not enforced as plaintiff opted to
file a motion in the SPECPRO case for the payment of the
judgment.

Respondent Magno, as administratrix of the estate of Linnie Jane


Hodges (wife of CN Hodges), opposed the motion.

Many legal manoeuvrings happened. Eventually, Petitioner Echaus


then filed this petition for mandamus seeking to order PCIB to
pay the judgment credit in the CIVIL CASE.

Petitioner claims that since the judgment in the civil case is already
final and executory thus making execution a matter of right,
therefore, The duty to order the execution of a final and executory
judgment is ministerial and the failure of respondent judge to issue
such order is a proper case for mandamus.

Private respondents contend that the judgment rendered in Civil


Case No. 6628 is null and void for having been rendered without
jurisdiction.
1. Money claims against a defendant who dies without a judgment
having been rendered in the Regional Trial Court shall be
dismissed and prosecuted as a claim in the estate proceedings as
laid down under Section 21, Rule 3 of the Rules of Court. This
procedure was not followed in Civil Case No. 6628.
2. Also, even if it is assumed that the judgment in the said civil
case is valid, the claim presented in the estate proceedings is
already barred by the statute of non-claims

Issue:
W/N the claim of Echaus is already barred - No.

Held:

I. Although the civil case should have been dismissed pursuant


to the Rules of Court, PCIB as administrator has waived such
irregularity and cannot now assail the jurisdiction of the court.

It must be noted that Civil Case No. 6628 which is a money claim,
was instituted during the lifetime of C. N. Hodges. During its
pendency and before a decision could be rendered by the Regional
Trial Court hearing the case, C.N. Hodges died. Upon his death, he
was substituted by PCIB as administrator of his estate.

Being a money claim, said civil case should have been dismissed
and instituted as a money claim in the intestate estate of C. N.
Hodges (Sp. Proc. No. 1627) in accordance with Section 21 of
Rule 3 of the Revised Rules of Court:

Sec. 21. Where claim does not survive.—When the action is for
recovery of money, debt or interest thereon, and the defendant dies
before final judgment in the Court of First Instance, it shall be
dismissed to be prosecuted in the manner especially provided in
these rules.
However, this is not to suggest that because the claim of petitioner
was pursued to its conclusion in Civil Case No. 6682 instead of
being dismissed and filed as a money claim in Special Proceedings
No. 1672, the judgment rendered therein is null and void. The case
of Ignacio v. Pampanga Bus Co., Inc., L-18936, May 23, 1967, 20
SCRA 126, is in point:

"The philosophy behind the rule which provides for the dismissal
of the civil case is that, upon the death of a defendant, all money
claims should be filed in the testate or intestate proceedings ‘to
avoid useless duplicity of procedure.’ Obviously, the legal precept
just quoted is procedural in nature. It outlines the method by which
an action for recovery of money, debt or interest may continue,
upon the terms therein prescribed. Whether the original suit for the
recovery of money—as here—proceeds to its conclusion, or is
dismissed and the claim covered thereby filed with the probate
court, one thing is certain: no substantial rights of the parties are
prejudiced.

Now that the judgment has become final, the estate cannot be
heard to say that said judgment—reached after a full dress trial on
the merits—will now go for naught. The estate has thus waived its
right to have the claimant’s claim re-litigated in the estate
proceedings. For, though presentment of probate claims is
imperative, it is generally understood that it may be waived by the
estate’s representative. And, waiver is to be determined from the
administrator’s ‘acts and conduct.’ Certainly, the administrator’s
failure to plead the statute of non-claims, his active
participation, and resistance to plaintiff’s claim, in the civil
suit, amount to such waiver.”

Moreover, when PCIB as administrator of the estate of C.N.


Hodges was ordered to be substituted as defendant, it registered no
objection to the order. Thus, even if We admit for the sake of
argument that the trial court, after the death of C.N. Hodges has no
jurisdiction to render a judgment therein, the argument must fail.
PCIB, participated actively in the said case. It did not appeal the
decision rendered therein, neither did it raise the issue of
jurisdiction at any stage. It has been consistently held by this court
that while lack of jurisdiction may be assailed at any stage, a
party’s active participation in the proceedings before the court
without jurisdiction will estop such party from assailing such lack
of jurisdiction

Of more importance is the fact that the validity of the decision in


Civil Case No. 6628 had been passed upon by Us with finality in
G.R. No. L-30013 (PCIB v. Blanco). In that case, the estate of
C.N. Hodges and Linnie Lane Hodges questioned the decision of
the trial court dismissing the petition for relief from judgment. We
dismissed the petition for lack of merit on January 15, 1969

II. The filing of the claim beyond the 12 month period does not
always bar the claim.

Private respondent Avelina Magno, in her memorandum in lieu of


oral argument, alleged that the judgment sought to be enforced is
barred under the Rules of Court (p. 180, Rollo). The proceedings
for the settlement of the estate of C. N. Hodges was opened in
1962 and the notice to creditors was published in “Yuhum,” a
newspaper of general circulation in its issues of March 12, 10, and
27, 1963. Under Section 2, Rule 27 of the Rules of Court, the time
provided for filing claims against the estate shall be stated by the
court in the notice, which shall not be more than twelve (12)
months nor less than six (6) months after the date of its first
publication. Since petitioner filed her motion to direct payment
only on February 20, 1967, which is more than four years from the
publication of the notice then, it is already barred.

The above argument of private respondent is not correct. The


Rules of Court allows a creditor to file his claim after the period
set by the court in the notice to creditors, provided the conditions
stated in the rules are present.

Sec. 2. Time within which claims shall be filed.—x x x. However,


at any time before an order of distribution is entered, on
application of a creditor who has failed to file his claim within the
time previously limited, the court may, for cause shown and on
such terms as are equitable, allow such claim to be filed within a
time not exceeding one (1) month.” (Rule 86)

It is clear from the foregoing (Section 2 of Rule 87 [now Rule 86])


that the period prescribed in the notice to creditors is not exclusive;
that money claims against the estate may be allowed any time
before an order of distribution is entered, at the discretion of the
court for cause and upon such terms as are equitable. At the time
petitioner’s motion to direct payment of the judgment credit was
filed, no order of distribution was issued yet.

While the judgment in Civil Case No. 6628 has become final and
executory, execution is not the proper remedy to enforce payment
thereof. The ordinary procedure by which to settle claims of
indebtedness against the estate of a deceased person, x x x, is for
the claimant to present a claim before the probate court so that said
court may order the administrator to pay the amount thereof
(Domingo v. Garlitos, L-18994, June 29, 1963). This was the
procedure correctly chosen by petitioner.

The legal basis for such a procedure is the fact that in the testate or
intestate proceedings to settle the estate of a deceased person, the
properties belonging to the estate are under the jurisdiction of the
Court and such jurisdiction continues until said properties have
been distributed among the heirs entitled thereto. During the
pendency of the proceedings all the estate is in custodia legis and
the proper procedure is not to allow the sheriff, in case of a court
judgment, to seize the properties but to ask the court for an order to
require the administrator to pay the amount due from the estate and
required to be paid. (Domingo v. Garlitos)

III. Mandamus not the proper action


Even if petitioners’ judgment credit were allowed as a claim
against the estate, immediate payment thereof by the administrator
of the estate, is not a matter of right. A judgment against the
executor or administrator shall be that he pay, in due course of
administration, the amount ascertained to be due, and it shall not
create a lien upon the property of the estate, or give the judgment
creditor any priority in payment (Sec. 13, Rule 86, Revised Rules).
The time for paying debts (and legacies) is to be fixed by the
probate court having jurisdiction over the estate of the deceased.
(Sec. 15, Rule 18). In the absence of any showing that respondent
judge who is taking cognizance of the estate proceedings had
already allowed the administrator to dispose of the estate and to
pay the debts and legacies of the deceased, a writ of mandamus
will not issue to compel him to order payment of petitioner’s
claim.

It is essential to the issuance of the writ of mandamus that the


(plaintiffs) should have a clear legal right to the thing demanded
and it must be the imperative duty of the defendant to perform the
act required.

ACCORDINGLY, the petition for the writ of mandamus is


DISMISSED for lack of merit.
SO ORDERED.

2. Alipio v. Court of Appeals, 341 SCRA 441

Facts:
Respondent Romeo Jaring was the lessee of a 14.5 hectare
fishpond in Barito, Mabuco, Hermosa, Bataan. The lease was for a
period of five years ending on September 12, 1990.
On June 19, 1987, he subleased the fishpond, for the remaining
period of his lease, to the spouses Placido and Purita Alipio and
the spouses Bienvenido and Remedios Manuel. The stipulated
amount of rent was P485,600.00, payable in two installments of
P300,000.00 and P185,600.00, with the second installment falling
due on June 30, 1989. Each of the four sublessees signed the
contract.

The first installment was duly paid, but of the second installment,
the sublessees only satisfied a portion thereof, leaving an unpaid
balance of P50,600.00.

Despite due demand, the sublessees failed to comply with their


obligation, so that, on October 13, 1989, private respondent sued
the Alipio and Manuel spouses for the collection of the said
amount before the RTC. In the alternative, he prayed for the
rescission of the sublease contract should the defendants fail to pay
the balance.

Petitioner Purita Alipio filed an MTD on the ground that her


husband, Placido Alipio, had passed away on December 1, 1988
(more than 10 months prior to the filing of the collection case).
She based her action on Rule 3, §21 — now §20 of the 1997 Rules
of Civil Procedure provides:

“When the action is for the recovery of money arising from


contract, express or implied, and the defendant dies before entry of
final judgment in the court in which the action was pending at the
time of such death, it shall not be dismissed but shall instead be
allowed to continue until entry of final judgment. A favorable
judgment obtained by the plaintiff therein shall be enforced in the
manner especially provided in these Rules for prosecuting claims
against the estate of a deceased person.”

RTC denied petitioner’s motion on the ground that since petitioner


was herself a party to the sublease contract, she could be
independently impleaded in the suit together with the Manuel
spouses and that the death of her husband merely resulted in his
exclusion from the case.

RTC held for respondent.

CA affirmed.

Issue:
W/N a creditor can sue the surviving spouse for the collection of a
debt which is owed by the conjugal partnership of gains - No.

Held:
No.

The petition is meritorious. We hold that a creditor cannot sue the


surviving spouse of a decedent in an ordinary proceeding for the
collection of a sum of money chargeable against the conjugal
partnership and that the proper remedy is for him to file a claim in
the settlement of estate of the decedent.
I. Petitioner’s husband died on December 1, 1988, more than ten
months before private respondent filed the collection suit in the
trial court on October 13, 1989. This case thus falls outside of the
ambit of Rule 3, §21 which deals with dismissals of collection
suits because of the death of the defendant during the pendency of
the case and the subsequent procedure to be undertaken by the
plaintiff, i.e., the filing of claim in the proceeding for the
settlement of the decedent’s estate. As already noted, Rule 3, §20
of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure now provides that the case
will be allowed to continue until entry of final judgment. A
favorable judgment obtained by the plaintiff therein will then be
enforced in the manner especially provided in the Rules for
prosecuting claims against the estate of a deceased person. The
issue to be resolved is whether private respondent can, in the first
place, file this case against petitioner.

Petitioner and her late husband, together with the Manuel spouses,
signed the sublease contract binding themselves to pay the amount
of stipulated rent. Under the law, the Alipios’ obligation (and also
that of the Manuels) is one which is chargeable against their
conjugal partnership.

When petitioner’s husband died, their conjugal partnership was


automatically dissolved and debts chargeable against it are to be
paid in the settlement of estate proceedings in accordance with
Rule 73, §2 which states:

Where estate settled upon dissolution of marriage.— When the


marriage is dissolved by the death of the husband or wife, the
community property shall be inventoried, administered, and
liquidated, and the debts thereof paid, in the testate or intestate
proceedings of the deceased spouse. If both spouses have died, the
conjugal partnership shall be liquidated in the testate or intestate
proceedings of either.

As held in Calma v. Tanedo, after the death of either of the


spouses, no complaint for the collection of indebtedness
chargeable against the conjugal partnership can be brought against
the surviving spouse. Instead, the claim must be made in the
proceedings for the liquidation and settlement of the conjugal
property. The reason for this is that upon the death of one spouse,
the powers of administration of the surviving spouse ceases and is
passed to the administrator appointed by the court having
jurisdiction over the settlement of estate proceedings. Indeed, the
surviving spouse is not even a de facto administrator such that
conveyances made by him of any property belonging to the
partnership prior to the liquidation of the mass of conjugal
partnership property is void.

II.

The cases relied upon by the Court of Appeals in support of its


ruling, namely, Climaco v. Siy Uy and Imperial Insurance, Inc. v.
David, are based on different sets of facts.

In Climaco, the defendants, Carlos Siy Uy and Manuel Co, were


sued for damages for malicious prosecution. Thus, apart from the
fact the claim was not against any conjugal partnership, it was one
which does not survive the death of defendant Uy, which merely
resulted in the dismissal of the case as to him but not as to the
remaining defendant Manuel Co.

With regard to the case of Imperial, the spouses therein jointly and
severally executed an indemnity agreement which became the
basis of a collection suit filed against the wife after her husband
had died. For this reason, the Court ruled that since the spouses’
liability was solidary, the surviving spouse could be independently
sued in an ordinary action for the enforcement of the entire
obligation.

It must be noted that for marriages governed by the rules of


conjugal partnership of gains, an obligation entered into by the
husband and wife is chargeable against their conjugal partnership
and it is the partnership which is primarily bound for its
repayment.

Thus, when the spouses are sued for the enforcement of an


obligation entered into by them, they are being impleaded in their
capacity as representatives of the conjugal partnership and not as
independent debtors such that the concept of joint or solidary
liability, as between them, does not apply. But even assuming the
contrary to be true, the nature of the obligation involved in this
case, as will be discussed later, is not solidary but rather merely
joint, making Imperial still inapplicable to this case.

III.
From the foregoing, it is clear that private respondent cannot
maintain the present suit against petitioner. Rather, his remedy
is
1. to file a claim against the Alipios in the proceeding for the
settlement of the estate of petitioner’s husband or,
2. if none has been commenced, he can file a petition either for
the issuance of letters of administration or for the allowance of
will, depending on whether petitioner’s husband died intestate
or testate.

Private respondent cannot short-circuit this procedure by lumping


his claim against the Alipios with those against the Manuels
considering that, aside from petitioner’s lack of authority to
represent their conjugal estate, the inventory of the Alipios’
conjugal property is necessary before any claim chargeable against
it can be paid. Needless to say, such power exclusively pertains to
the court having jurisdiction over the settlement of the decedent’s
estate and not to any other court.

Since the obligation of the Manuel and Alipio spouses is


chargeable against their respective conjugal partnerships, the
unpaid balance of P50,600.00 should be divided into two so that
each couple is liable to pay the amount of P25,300.00.
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. Bienvenido Manuel
and Remedios Manuel are ordered to pay the amount of
P25,300.00, the attorney’s fees in the amount of P10,000.00 and
the costs of the suit. The complaint against petitioner is dismissed
without prejudice to the filing of a claim by private respondent in
the proceedings for the settlement of estate of Placido Alipio for
the collection of the share of the Alipio spouses in the unpaid
balance of the rent in the amount of P25,300.00.
SO ORDERED.

3. Aldamiz v. CFI, 85 Phil. 228

Facts:
The deceased Santiago Rementeria was a Spaniard and member
of the commercial partnership Aldamiz y Rementeria.The other
members were the brothers, Gavino and Jose, surnamed Aldamiz.

Santiago Rementeria died in Spain in 1937, and probate


proceeding No. 705 was instituted in the same year in the Court of
First Instance of Mindoro by Gavino Aldamiz represented by Atty.
Juan L. Luna.

Gavino Aldamiz was appointed administrator and as such was


represented by respondent Atty. Juan Luna up to January 21,
1947, when the order complained of was issued. In that order it is
said that “said attorney is the one who instituted this testate
proceeding ten years ago and has from its incipiency to the present
stage of the proceeding actively intervened in the same.”

On January 15, 1947, after ten years from the date of his
appointment, Gavino Aldamiz, as administrator, through his
attorney Juan L. Luna, submitted his accounts for the years 1944,
1945 and 1946 and also a project of partition with a view to
closing the proceedings.

On said date, the court approved the accounts but refused to


approve the project of partition unless all debts including
attorney's fees be first paid. In the project of partition, it was
expressly stated that attorney’s fees, debts and incidental expenses
would be proportionately paid by the beneficiaries after the closure
of the testate proceedings, but the court refused to sanction this
clause of the project.

It is for this reason that right then and there, Attorney Luna, to
comply with the wishes of the court, without previously preparing
and filing a written petition to have his professional fees fixed, and
without previous notice to all the interested parties, submitted
evidence of his services and professional standing so that the court
might fix the amount of his compensation and the administrator
may make payment thereof.

This failure to file a written claim and to notify the interested


parties thereof was not due to bad faith or fraudulent purpose but
to an honest belief on the part of the respondent attorney that such
requirements were not necessary under the circumstance.

In this connection, it must be stated, in justice to Attorney Luna,


that during the ten years that he served as attorney for the
administrator and during the twenty-five years as legal consultant
to Santiago Rementeria, Gavino Aldamiz and Jose Aldamiz
individually and as a commercial partnership under the firm name
“ ldamiz y Rementeria," he never took the trouble of charging
them f or his professional services, thus showing disinterestedness
and extreme liberality on his part due to friendship and other
personal considerations toward his clients.

And it is to be observed further that even after ten years of active


work in the testate proceeding, when he wanted to close the same
and it was then time for him to demand payment for his services,
he showed no interest in demanding preferring to leave the matter
to future negotiation or understanding with the interested parties.

And when the amount of his fees was fixed by the court and
Gavino Aldamiz asked him for a substantial reduction, he
answered that it was not he who had fixed the amount but the
court, and advised his client to file a motion for reconsideration,
with the assurance that he would offer no objection to any
reduction in amount and to any extension of the time for paying
what might be granted by the court. And again, when Gavino
Aldamiz paid him P 5,000 on account, respondent attorney told
him that he would be satisfied with any additional amount that
Gavino might later desire to pay him.

Only subsequent occurrences which proved distasteful to the


parties, led them to take steps which culminated in the filing of the
instant civil action.

At the time respondent's evidence was submitted to the court, the


interested parties who were residing in the Philippines were
Gavino Aldamiz and his brother Jose Aldamiz. The others were
then residing in Spain. No written claim had ever been filed for
respondent’s fees, and the interested parties had not been notified
thereof nor of the hearing, not even Gavino Aldamiz who did not
know when he was called to testify that he would testify in
connection with respondent's fees.

The Court, after considering the whole evidence presented,


awarded Atty. Luna P28,000 as payment for his professional
services.

Out of the total amount of P28,000, petitioner was able to pay


P5,000 only, and upon his failure to pay the balance of P23,000
after several demands made upon him by respondent attorney, the
latter on April 17, 1948, filed an ex-parte motion for execution,
which was granted by the respondent Court on April 19, 1948.

Pursuant to the order of execution, the respondent Sheriff levied on


execution on two parcels of land belonging, not to the testate estate
of Santiago Rementeria y Aldamizcogeascoa, but to the
commercial partnership "Aldamiz y Rementeria" with a total area
of three hundred fiftyseven (357) hectares, more or less, and
assessed at one hundred eighty-two thousand, three hundred and
sixty pesos (P182,360), which was sold at a public auction on July
20, 1948, in favor of respondent attorney for only twenty thousand
pesos (P20,000). This sale was made after preliminary injunction
had been issued by this court in the instant case.

Issue:
W/N the trial court’s order in fixing the amount of respondent’s
attorney’s fees is valid - No
Held:
No.

We believe and so hold that the order of the respondent court


issued on January 21, 1948, fixing the amount of respondent
attorney's fees is null and void.

The correct procedure for the collection of attorney’s fees, is


1. for the counsel to request the administrator to make payment
and file an action against him in his personal capacity and not as
an administrator should he fail to pay. If judgment is rendered
against the administrator and he pays, he may include the fees so
paid in his account to the court.

2. The attorney also may, instead of bringing such an action, file a


petition in the testate or intestate proceeding asking that the court,
after notice to all persons interested, allow his claim and direct the
administrator to pay it as an expense of administration.

In the instant case, as above stated, no written petition for the


payment of attorney's fees has ever been filed by respondent
attorney and the interested parties had not been previously notified
thereof nor of the hearing held by the court. Consequently, the
order issued by the respondent court on January 21, 1947, and all
subsequent orders implementing it, are null and void, as having
been issued in excess of jurisdiction.

A writ of execution is not the proper procedure allowed by the


Rules of Court for the payment of debts and expenses of
administration. The proper procedure is for the court to order the
sale of personal estate or the sale or mortgage of real property of
the deceased and all debts or expenses of administration should be
paid out of the proceeds of the sale or mortgage. The order for the
sale or mortgage should be issued upon motion of the
administrator and with the written notice to all the heirs, legatees
and devisees residing in the Philippines, according to Rule 89,
section 3, and Rule 90, section 2. And when sale or mortgage of
real estate is to be made, the regulations contained in Rule 90,
section 7, should be complied with.

Execution may issue only where the devisees, legatees or heirs


have entered into possession of their respective portions in the
estate prior to settlement and payment of the debts and expenses of
administration and it is later ascertained that there are such debts
and expenses to be paid, in which case “ he court having
jurisdiction of the estate may, by order for that purpose, after
hearing, settle the amount of their several liabilities, and order how
much and in what manner each person shall contribute, and may
issue execution if circumstances require. And this is not the instant
case.

For all the foregoing, the order of the respondent court of January
21, 1947, and all the subsequent orders implementing it,
particularly the order of execution issued by the court on April 19,
1948, and the sale made by the sheriff on July 20,1948, in favor of
respondent attorney, are null and void and are hereby set aside,
with costs against respondents. It is so ordered.
Ozaeta, Pablo, Bengzon, Padilla, Tuason, Reyes, and Torres, JJ.,
concur.
Orders set aside.

4. PNB v. Court of Appeals, 360 SCRA 370

Facts:
The spouses Antonio M. Chua and Asuncion M. Chua were the
owners of a parcel of land covered by Transfer Certificate of Title
No. P- 142 and registered in their names.

Upon Antonio’s death, the probate court appointed his son,


private respondent Allan M. Chua, special administrator of
Antonio’s intestate estate.

The court also authorized Allan to obtain a loan accommodation of


five hundred fifty thousand (P550,000.00) pesos from petitioner
Philippine National Bank to be secured by a real estate mortgage
over the above-mentioned parcel of land.

On June 29, 1989, Allan obtained a loan of P450,000.00 from


petitioner PNB evidenced by a promissory note, payable on June
29, 1990, with interest at 18.8 percent per annum. To secure the
loan, Allan executed a deed of real estate mortgage on the
aforesaid parcel of land.

On December 27, 1990, for failure to pay the loan in full, the bank
extrajudicially foreclosed the real estate mortgage, through the
Ex- Officio Sheriff, who conducted a public auction of the
mortgaged property pursuant to the authority provided for in the
deed of real estate mortgage.

During the auction, PNB was the highest bidder with a bid price
P306,360.00. Since PNB’s total claim as of the date of the auction
sale was P679,185.63, the loan had a payable balance of
P372,825.63.

To claim this deficiency, PNB instituted an action with the RTC,


Balayan, Batangas, Branch 10, docketed as Civil Case No. 1988,
against both Mrs. Asuncion M. Chua and Allan Chua in his
capacity as special administrator of his father’s intestate estate.

Despite summons duly served, private respondents did not answer


the complaint. The trial court declared them in default and
received evidence ex parte.

RTC dismissed PNB’s complaint.

CA affirmed.

Issue:
W/N CA erred in ruling that petitioner may no longer pursue by
civil action the recovery of the balance of indebtedness after
having foreclosed the property securing the same - No, did not err.

Held:
No, did not err. PNB may no longer pursue by civil action the
recovery of the deficiency after having foreclosed the mortgage on
the property.

I. Arguments
Petitioner contends that under prevailing jurisprudence, when the
proceeds of the sale are insufficient to pay the debt, the mortgagee
has the right to recover the deficiency from the debtor. It also
contends that Act 3135, otherwise known as “An Act to Regulate
the Sale of Property under Special Powers Inserted in or Annexed
to Real Estate Mortgages,” is the law applicable to this case of
foreclosure sale and not Section 7 of Rule 86 of the Revised Rules
of Court as held by the Court of Appeals

Private respondents argue that having chosen the remedy of


extrajudicial foreclosure of the mortgaged property of the
deceased, petitioner is precluded from pursuing its deficiency
claim against the estate of Antonio
M. Chua. This they say is pursuant to Section 7, Rule 86 of the
Rules of Court, which states that:

Sec. 7. Rule 86. Mortgage debt due from estate.—A creditor


holding a claim against the deceased secured by mortgage or other
collateral security, may abandon the security and prosecute his
claim in the manner provided in this rule, and share in the general
distribution of the assets of the estate; or he may foreclose his
mortgage or realize upon his security, by action in court, making
the executor or administrator a party defendant, and if there is a
judgment for a deficiency, after the sale of the mortgaged
premises, or the property pledged, in the foreclosure or other
proceeding to realize upon the security, he may claim his
deficiency judgment in the manner provided in the preceding
section; or he may rely upon his mortgage or other security alone
and foreclose the same at any time within the period of the statute
of limitations, and in that event he shall not be admitted as a
creditor, and shall receive no share in the distribution of the
other assets of the estate; but nothing herein contained shall
prohibit the executor or administrator from redeeming the property
mortgaged or pledged by paying the debt for which it is hold as
security, under the direc tion of the court if the court shall adjudge
it to be for the interest of the estate that such redemption shall be
made.

II. Ruling

To begin with, it is clear from the text of Section 7, Rule 89, that
once the deed of real estate mortgage is recorded in the proper
Registry of Deeds, together with the corresponding court order
authorizing the administrator to mortgage the property, said deed
shall be valid as if it has been executed by the deceased himself.
Section 7 provides in part:

Sec. 7. Rule 89. Regulations for granting authority to sell,


mortgage, or otherwise encumber estate.—The court having
jurisdiction of the estate of the deceased may authorize the
executor or administrator to sell personal estate, or to sell,
mortgage, or otherwise encumber real estate, in cases provided by
these rules when it appears necessary or beneficial under the
following regulations:

x x x (f) There shall be recorded in the registry of deeds of the


province in which the real estate thus sold, mortgaged, or
otherwise encumbered is situated, a certified copy of the order of
the court, together with the deed of the executor or administrator
for such real estate, which shall be valid as if the deed had been
executed by the deceased in his lifetime.

In the present case, it is undisputed that the conditions under the


aforecited rule have been complied with. It follows that we must
consider Sec. 7 of Rule 86, appropriately applicable to the
controversy at hand.

Case law now holds that this rule grants to the mortgagee three
distinct, independent and mutually exclusive remedies that can be
alternatively pursued by the mortgage creditor for the satisfaction
of his credit in case the mortgagor dies, among them:
(1) to waive the mortgage and claim the entire debt from the estate
of the mortgagor as an ordinary claim;
(2) to foreclose the mortgage judicially and prove any deficiency
as an ordinary claim; and
(3) to rely on the mortgage exclusively, foreclosing the same at any
time before it is barred by prescription without right to file a claim
for any deficiency. (Maglaque vs. PDB, 307 SCRA 156, 161-162
(1999); Vda. de Jacob vs. Court of Appeals, 184 SCRA 294, 301
(1990); Bicol Savings and Loan Association vs. CA, et al., 171
SCRA 630 (1989)).
The plain result of adopting the last mode of foreclosure is that the
creditor waives his right to recover any deficiency from the estate.
Following the Perez ruling that the third mode includes
extrajudicial foreclosure sales, the result of extrajudicial
foreclosure is that the creditor waives any further deficiency claim.

The dissent in Pasno, as adopted in Perez, supports this conclusion,


thus: When account is further taken of the fact that a creditor who
elects to foreclose by extrajudicial sale waives all right to recover
against the estate of the deceased debtor for any deficiency
remaining unpaid after the sale it will be readily seen that the
decision in this case (referring to the majority opinion) will impose
a burden upon the estates of deceased persons who have
mortgaged real property for the security of debts, without any
compensatory advantage.

Clearly, in our view, petitioner herein has chosen the


mortgagecreditor’s option of extrajudicially foreclosing the
mortgaged property of the Chuas. This choice now bars any
subsequent deficiency claim against the estate of the deceased,
Antonio M. Chua. Petitioner may no longer avail of the complaint
for the recovery of the balance of indebtedness against said estate,
after petitioner foreclosed the property securing the mortgage in its
favor. It follows that in this case no further liability remains on the
part of respondents and the late Antonio M. Chua’s estate.

WHEREFORE, finding no reversible error committed by


respondent Court of Appeals, the instant petition is hereby
DENIED. The assailed decision of the Court of Appeals in CA- G-
R. CV No. 36546 is AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioner.
SO ORDERED.

Guardianship

Cases:

Martinez v. Martinez

Facts:
This is an action brought by Pedro Martinez Ilustre, the son and
the compulsory legal heir, against Francisco Martinez Garcia for a
declaration of prodigality against the father.

The allegations in the complaint are substantially :


1. That Don Francisco Martinez, owing to his advanced age, is
dissipating and squandering his estate by making donations to his
second wife, Doña Anastacia Ilustre, and to her parents of
properties amounting to over $200,000;
2. that he has given over the administration of this estate to the
management of his wife;
3. that the defendant has a propensity for litigation and has
instituted groundless against the plaintiff in order to take
possession of the property held in common with the plaintiff to
give it to his wife and her relatives.

In a supplementary prayer plaintiff asked the court to direct that


the complaint be entered in the property register of the province,
which was done by order of the court.

The defendant in his answer denies the allegations in the complaint


and sets forth a state of facts quite inconsistent with those alleged
in the complaint.
Among other things, it is stated
1. that he has executed in favor of the plaintiff a general power of
attorney under which the plaintiff has administered the community
estate for several years;
2. that the plaintiff has caused the ships Germana, Don Francisco,
and Balayan, belonging to the estate, to be registered in his own
name without the consent of the father and is otherwise
mismanaging and misappropriating the property of the estate,
which caused the defendant to revoke the power of attorney given
to plaintiff, and
3. that the suit brought by the defendant against the plaintiff was
due to the attitude of the son, who, notwithstanding the fact that
the power of attorney had been revoked, refused to render an
account of his administration.

The Court of First Instance rendered judgment against the plaintiff


and adjudged the costs against him. The plaintiff has appealed to
this court.

Issue:
W/N Franciso (the father) should be declared a prodigal such that a
guardian over him is necessary - No.
Held:
No.

The declaration of prodigality must be made in an ordinary action


(en juicio contradictorio). (Art. 221 of the Civil Code.)

The proceedings must be instituted by the consort or the forced


heirs. (Art. 222 of the Civil Code.)

Under our law it may be inferred that the acts of prodigality


must show a morbid state of mind and a disposition to spend,
waste, and lessen the estate to such an extent as is likely to
expose the family to want of support, or to deprive the forced
heirs of their undisposable part of the estate.

Donations are considered as acts of liberality dictated by


generosity and affection. All persons who can contract and dispose
of property may make donations. (Art. 624 of the Civil Code.)

Donations may comprise all the actual property of the donor,


except such as is required for 'the support of the donor in a
condition corresponding to his circumstances. (Art. 634 of the
Civil Code.)

And with further limitation that no person can give by a donation


more than what he can give by testament.
A donation is considered inofficious in all that exceeds such limits.
(Art. 636 of the Civil Code.)
Public policy requires that limitations of the character mentioned
should be imposed upon the owner, but a law which would impose
restrictions further than such as are required by public policy may
well be regarded unjust and tending in a contrary direction, as
destroying the incentive to acquire property, and as subduing the
generous impulse of the heart.

Beyond these limitations the law does not attempt to adjust claims
to generosity.

There were a number of witnesses introduced both by the plaintiff


and by the' defendant whose testimony it is unnecessary to recount.

The testimony on the part of the plaintiff was wholly insufficient to


support the allegations of his complaint. It was vague, indefinite,
and of an inconclusive nature.

The father's estate consisted of city property in Manila; of farms


and of certain vessels, two of which are steamships. There is no
evidence offered to show any transfers by sale or mortgage of
these properties. This could have been easily done if such existed.
Donations of real property must be made in a public deed (art. 633
of the Civil Code), and the acquisition of vessels must also be
included in a written instrument, and produces no effect with
regard to third persons if not recorded in the Commercial Registry.
(Art. 573 of the Code of Commerce.)

There is no proof that there was any money belonging to the estate,
or other personal property, the transfer of which could not be easily
traced.

The son has been in possession of a greater part of the estate since
November, 1897, collecting the revenue from the ships and rents
from the city property.
The farms have been nonproductive on account of the disturbed
conditions of the country, and the revenue from even these has
been in part collected by the son.

While some of the witnesses state that the possessions of the wife
have greatly increased since her marriage, there is no evidence
whatever to show that there has been any perceptible diminution of
the defendant's property. This can be accounted for only on the
grounds that the father, so far from being a prodigal, is still in the
full exercise of his faculties and still possesses the industry, thrift,
and ability that resulted in the accumulation of a splendid estate
after the date of his marriage with the mother of the plaintiff, to
one-half of which estate the plaintiff has succeeded as heir of the
mother.

A careful consideration of the evidence is sufficient to induce the


belief that the plaintiff himself possesses that propensity for
instituting lawsuits which he unjustly attributes to his father.

The judgment of the Court of First Instance is affirmed and costs


of suits in both courts is adjudged against the plaintiff.

Stegner v. Stegner
Facts:
W. A. Stegner, a citizen of the United States, was at the time of his
demise a resident of Pamplona, Cagayan. He left a will stating,
among others, that:

“I give unto the executor and trustee hereinafter named my


property of every kind for the use hereinafter set out, giving unto
him full power to sell any of the properties, subject to the trust
hereby created, and to invest the proceeds in such manner as he
may deem proper xxx. I nominate and appoint the Philippine
Trust Company executor of and trustee under this my last will
and testament to serve without bond and as guardian of my
children James E. Stegner,Henry G. Stegner, Ruth H. Stegner, and
Catherine Stegner.”

The minors were to receive monthly pensions from the U. S.


Veterans Administration.

Although there is no evidence on record, the decision of the trial


Court states that said will of W. A. Stegner was duly admitted to
probate and this statement was never refuted by any of the parties.

On November 11, 1936, Juanita T. Stegner, widow of the deceased


and mother of the minors, petitioned the Court of First Instance of
Manila for the issuance in her favor of letters of guardianship
over the person and properties of her children, which petition was
granted by the Court in its order of November 13, 1936, upon the
filing by the petitioner of a bond in the sum of P500.
The Veterans Administration, however, recommended that the
guardianship over the properties be placed in the hands of a
solvent trust company doing business in Manila.

The Philippine Trust Company thereafter filed a petition praying


that in view of the will of W. A. Stegner appointing said company
as guardian for the estates of the minors, letters of guardianship for
the properties of James, Henry, Ruth, Catherine and Mildred
Stegner be issued in its favor, and upon agreement of the parties,
the Court set aside its previous order and appointed Juanita T.
Stegner as guardian over the persons of the minors and the
Philippine Trust Company as guardian of their properties.

James E. Stegner reached the age of majority and was


consequently released from guardianship by order of the Court of
March 28, 1941, but it appears that he and his sister Ruth were
killed by the Japanese in 1945.

The remaining wards under guardianship having reached the age


of majority, the Philippine Trust Company on May 26, 1953, filed
a final consolidated statement of account and petition for
discharge containing a detailed statement of cash receipts and
disbursements made.

It also showed that


1. the amount of P15,117.29 in Japanese military notes which was
invalidated by Executive Orders Nos. 25 and 49 was deducted
from the balance of P16,282.32 remaining in favor of the wards;
2. the participation in the notes of La Granja, Inc., had been
eliminated upon discovery that the balance of the same was duly
paid for on January 4, 1940, and was correspondingly noted in the
inventory account of July 6, 1940, which was approved by the
Court on August 29 of the same year;
3. the value of the participation in the La Urbana was reduced from
P3,200 to P400 in view of the fact that P2,800 had already been
paid on April 12, 1938, as stated in the inventory account dated
June 29, 1938, and duly approved by order of the Court of
November 3, 1948;
4. the company was entitled to 5 per cent of the total amount
received by said guardian as fees.

Catherine and Mildred Stegner opposed this petition alleging,


among others, that, despite the absence of previous judicial
authorization, the company invested the funds of the wards in
mortgage loans; Thus, they asked the Court to disapprove the
statement of accounts submitted by the company and that it be'
ordered to present a new one with the objected items eliminated.

Issue:
W/N the Philippine Trust Company could be held liable for the
investments of the funds of the wards made without securing the
previous authorization of the Court, as required by the Rules of
Court, and which resulted in the loss of P15,117.29 - No.

Held:
No.
1. In defense of its actuation, petitioner-appellee contends that it
relied on the provisions on trust corporations, specifically Section
139 of the Corporation Law (repealed by Republic Act No. 337,
known as the General Banking Act) which provides that deposits
or moneys received by a trust corporation as guardian or trustee
can be loaned and invested in accordance with the provisions
governing loans and investments of savings and mortgage banks,
unless otherwise directed by the instrument creating the trust.
Appellants, on the other hand, maintain that the properties of the
wards were received by the guardian in a fideicommissary capacity
which partakes of the nature of a “ ommodatum" for the benefit of
said minors, thus requiring court authorization before said funds
could be invested.

This contention has no merit.

Although the context of the will of W. A. Stegner unmistakably


conveys the testator’s intention to create a trust and make the
Philippine Trust Company a trustee, it must be remembered that
upon said company's application and by agreement of the parties,
the Court appointed the Philippine Trust Company as guardian (not
as trustee) of the properties of the minors, and there is no showing
either that when the will of W. A. Stegner was presented and
allowed to probate in case No. 49170 of the Court of First Instance
of Manila, appellee was appointed as such trustee. Having
assumed office as "guardian" of the properties of the wards, the
company should be governed, in the management of the funds of
said minors, by the provisions of the Rules of Court on
guardianship and not by the rules on trust corporations under the
Corporation Law.

The court's approval of the annual inventories and accounts


submitted by the guardian, with the conformity and/or
acquiescence of the U. S. Veterans Administration and the mother
of the minors, where the investment of the properties of the wards
made without securing previous judicial authority, was mentioned
and accounted for, amounts to a ratification of the acts of the
guardian and compliance with the provisions of Section 5, Rule 96
of the Rules of Court.

2. Petitioner-appellee, however, asserts that although it did not


secure previous judicial approval of those investments, they were
included in the annual accountings which were passed upon by the
court from time to time with the conformity and/or acquiescence of
the US Veterans Administration and the mother of the minors.

This contention has merit.

Section 5, Rule 96 of the Rules of Court, provides that:


SEC. 5. COURT MAY ORDER INVESTMENT OF PROCEEDS
AND DIRECT MANAGEMENT OF ESTATE. —
The Court may authorize and require the guardian to invest the
proceeds of sales or encumbrances, and any other of his ward’s
money in his hands, in real estate or otherwise, as shall be for the
best interest of all concerned, and may make such other orders for
the managements investment, and disposition of the estate and
effects, as circumstances may require.
Although the authority referred to in this Section may not have
been secured prior to the investment of the properties or funds of
the ward, yet We believe that the court's approval of the annual
inventories and accounts submitted by the guardian, with the
conformity and/or acquiescence of the "U. S. Veterans
Administration and the mother of the minors, wherein the
questioned investment was mentioned and accounted for, amounts
to a ratification of the acts of the guardian and compliance with
the provisions of section 5, Rule 96 aforecited.

We find no merit in the imputation of negligence on the guardian


with respect to said assets after taking into consideration the
satisfactory explanations made by said guardian.

Wherefore, the order of the Court, a quo of July 29, 1954, appealed
from is hereby affirmed, without pronouncement as to costs. It is
so ordered.

Ribaya v. Ribaya

Facts:
Adela Carbonell Vda. de Ribaya (now Mrs. Ricardo Mirasol),
the mother and judicial guardian of the minor Luis Ribaya,
appeals from certain orders of the Court of First Instance of Albay
(1) approving her accounts as such guardian and ordering her to
deposit the balance of Pl,574.30 in favor of said minor in the
Legaspi branch of the Philippine National Bank, and (2) removing
her as such guardian and appointing in her stead Agustina Vda. de
Ribaya, paternal grand mother of said minor.

Vicente Ribaya died intestate on September 29, 1935, leaving as


his only legal heirs his minor son Luis and his widow Adela
Carbonell. No intestate proceed ing has been instituted for the
settlement of his estate. On July 25, 1936, the court appointed
Adela Carbonell as guardian of the person and property of said
minor.

On August 7,1937, in compliance with an order of the court, the


guardian presented her first annual account, which shows an
income of Pl,500.55 for the period from August 2, 1936, to July
12, 1937, and expenses of Pl,453.11 during the same period,
leaving a balance of P47.44 in favor of the minor.

Agustina Vda. de Ribaya, grandmother of the minor, opposed the


approval of said account on the ground that various items of
income, which she specified, had not been included or accounted
for therein.

On January 4, 1940, the guardian presented her second annual


account covering the period up to December 31, 1939, and which,
including the balance of the first account, showed a total balance
of Pl,574.30 in favor of the minor.

Agustina R. Vda. de Ribaya, in a writing entitled “Motion,”


manifested to the court
(1) that the expenses appearing in said No. 2 account of the
guardian were ex cessive;
(2) that the said guardian had contracted a second marriage with
Mr. Ricardo Mirasol, and that consequently (sic) the usufruct
which she had as a wi dow on sixty hectares of coconut land
situated in the barrios of Cullat, Pistola, Tinampo, and Allang,
municipalities of Oas and Ligao, should be considered terminated;
and
(3) that, it appearing from the guardian’s accounts that there exists
a balance of Pl,574.30 in favor of the minor, the said amount
should be ordered deposited in the Legaspi branch of the
Philippine National Bank.

On April 5,1940, the court passed upon the said two accounts of
the guardian and resolved that, although it found some of the items
of the expenses to be excessive, it approved the same with a
balance of Pl,574.30 in favor of the minor, and ordered the
guardian to deposit said balance within ten days in the Legaspi
branch of the Philippine National Bank.

Regarding the motion for the extinction of the widow's usufruct on


sixty hectares of coconut land, the court in the same order required
her to show cause within five days why all the fruits of the said
sixty hectares of land should not be cre dited in favor of the minor
in view of the fact that she had contracted a second mar riage.
Instead of complying with the said order the guardian, through her
counsel, filed a motion on June 13, 1940, asking that the
effectivity of said order be sus pended pending negotiations for
amic’able settlement with the oppositor, and an nouncing her
intention to present an amended account.
On July 8, 1940, the court entered an order (a) denying the petition
for suspension of the order of April 5, 1940, and (b) declaring
extin guished the usufructuary right of the widow over the
paraphernal properties of her deceased husband, on account of her
having contracted a second marriage,

On August 30, 1940, the court resolved the guardian’s motion for
reconsideration and the oppositor's motion for removal and
substitution of said guardian by denying the first and granting the
second. With respect, however, to the usufructuary right of the
widow, the court de clared that the same should be resolved in an
intestate proceeding in accordance with articles 834-839 of the
Civil Code.

Issue:
1. W/N the usufructuary right of Adela should be extinguished -
Yes
2. W/N she should be relieved as guardian - Yes

Held:
1. Yes

We deduce from the record that the deceased Vicente Ribaya left
considerable properties and assets and some debts, and that
without instituting intestate proceedings his widow Adela
Carbonell appears to have assigned to herself the usufruct of
some sixty hectares of coconut land be longing, to the deceased,
leaving the rest of the decedent’s assets with all the liabilities to
his only son, the minor in question.
For the guidance of the parties and of the trial court, we declare
such extra judicial settlement void and of no legal effect. The
widow, as legal heir of her deceased husband, could not validly
enter into an agreement with herself as natural guardian of her
minor son for the determination and apportionment of their
respective shares in the inheritance. More over, the widow's
usufructuary share cannot be determined until after the debts of the
estate are liquidated. It is imperative that she institute intestate
proceedings in court so that the debts may be paid and the net
assets distributed to the heirs in accordance with law. The right of
the widow is governed by the second paragraph of article 834 of
the Civil Code.

2. Yes

The record of this case evinces a conflict of interests between the


appellant and the minor as heirs of the deceased. This fact alone,
independently of the five grounds specified by the trial court in its
order substituting the appellant as guardian of the property of the
minor, suggests the propriety and advisability of relieving
appellant as such guardian.

The order of August 30, 1940, is affirmed with the direction made
in the body of this decision regarding the institution by the
appellant of intestate proceedings for the settlement and
adjudication of the estate of the deceased Vicente Ribaya,
Appellant shall pay the costs.
Habeas Corpus

Cases:

1. Velasco v. CA

Facts:
On 16 September 1993, a warrant of arrest was issued by Judge
Manuel Padolina of Branch 162 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC)
of Pasig, Metro Manila, against accused Lawrence Larkins in
Criminal Cases Nos. 101189-92 for violations of B.P. Blg. 22.

On 20 November 1994, a certain Desiree Alinea executed and filed


before the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) a complaint-
affidavit accusing Larkins of the crime of rape allegedly
committed against her on 19 November 1994 at 2:00 a.m. in
Victoria Valley Subdivision, 6 Valley Golf, Antipolo, Rizal. Acting
on the basis of the complaint of Alinea, petitioners Special
Investigators Flor L. Resurreccion and Antonio M. Erum, Jr.
proceeded to the office of Larkins in Makati, Metro Manila, on 21
November 1994 and arrested the latter, who was7 thereupon
positively identified by Alinea as her rapist. Larkins was then
detained at the Detention Cell of the NBI, Taft Avenue, Manila.

On 22 November 1994, Larkins posted his bail of P4,000.00 in


Criminal Cases Nos. 101189-92. Judge Padolina forthwith issued
an order recalling and setting aside the warrant of arrest issued
on 16 September 1993 and directing the Jail Warden of the NBI
Detention Cell to release Larkins from confinement „unless
otherwise detained for some other cause.‰

Special Investigators Resurreccion and Erum refused to


release Larkins because he was still detained for another cause,
specifically for the crime of rape for which he would be held
for inquest.

On 23 November 1994, a complaint against Larkins for rape


was executed by Alinea. It contains a certification by Assistant
provincial Prosecutor Ma. Paz Reyes Yson that it is „filed pursuant
to Section 7, Rule 112 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure, as
amended, the accused not having opted to avail of his right to
preliminary investigation and not having executed a waiver
pursuant to Article 125 . . . .‰

The complaint was filed with the RTC of Antipolo on 2


December 1994, docketed therein as Criminal Case No. 94-11794,
and assigned to Branch 71 of the court, presided by Judge Felix S.
Caballes.

On 2 December 1994, Larkins, through his counsel 9 Mauricio C.


Ulep, filed an Urgent Motion for Bail wherein he alleged, inter
alia, that the evidence of guilt against him for rape is not strong, as
he had no carnal knowledge of the complainant and the medical
report indicates that her hymen was neither lacerated nor ruptured;
that he is entitled as a matter of right to bail; and that he has no
intention of going out of the country or hiding away from the law.
On 6 December 1994, Larkins, through his new counsel, Atty.
Theodore O. Te, filed in Criminal Case No. 94-11794 an Urgent
Omnibus Motion for the10Dismissal of the Complaint and for
Immediate Release, principally based on the alleged illegality of
his warrantless arrest. This motion met vigorous opposition from
the private 11 ​complainant.

RTC denied the motion holding that "the Court finds no legal or
valid grounds to dismiss the complaint or release the accused, or to
grant him bail. The filing of this case against the accused, which is
[a] very serious offense, justifies the grant of the motion of the
prosecution for the issuance of a hold departure order.
WHEREFORE, the motions of the accused are hereby denied for
lack of merit, and as prayed for by the prosecution the Bureau of
Immigration and Deportation is hereby directed to include the
name of the accused, Lawrence A. Larkins, in its hold order
departure list until further order from this Court.”

Unable to accept the ruling, LarkinsÊ common-law wife, Felicitas


S. Cuyag, filed before the Court of Appeals a petition for
habeas corpus with certiorari. Impleaded as respondents were
the herein petitioners and Judge Felix S. Caballes.

Subsequently, the Court of Appeals issued a resolution ordering


the respondents therein to appear and produce Lawrence A.
Larkins before the court on 31 January 1995 at 10:30 a.m. and to
show cause why LarkinsÊ liberty is being restrained. On the said
date, Special Investigators Resurreccion and Erum appeared and
produced Larkins at the hearing. Atty. Orlando Dizon of the NBI
acted as their 14 counsel. The Office of the Solicitor General
representing 15 the People of the Philippines made no appearance.
Neither did Judge Caballes, for he had not received a copy of the
resolution. On the other hand, the petitioner therein, Felicitas S.
Cuyag, appeared with her counsel, who manifested that should the
court order the release of ​ Larkins the alternative prayer for
certiorari would be 16 deemed abandoned.

CA ordered the immediate release of the accused on the


ground that the complaint presented to the NBI by complainant
Desiree Alinea on the basis of which Larkins was detained
without a warrant of arrest for rape did not meet the legal
requirements provided for in Rule 113 of the Rules of Court.
"Furthermore, on the day the detention of Larkins commenced,
i.e., immediately after the NBI was served with the Order of the
Pasig RTC for his release on bail in connection with the BP 22
cases, no other criminal complaint or information had been filed or
pending in any court. It was only sometime between November 25,
1994 (when filing of the complaint was approved by the Rizal
Provincial Prosecutor) and November 29, 1994 (the date appearing
on the Urgent Motion for Bail filed by LarkinsÊs former counsel,
said Atty. Ulep) that the complaint for rape was filed with the
Antipolo RTC.”

Arguments:
The petitioners insist that the respondent court erred in granting the
petition for habeas corpus because Larkins had already been
charged with the crime of rape and the trial court had denied his
application for bail. They further claim that the warrantless arrest
in this case is valid for it was made under Section 5(b), Rule 113 of
the Rules of Court.

On the other hand, the private respondent contends that habeas


corpus is rendered unavailing not by the mere filing of an
information, but by the issuance of a warrant of arrest or warrant
of commitment, which are the only two processes recognized by
law to justify deprivation of liberty, and the order of Judge
Caballes of 5 January 1995 denying the petition for bail does not
qualify as such. She asserts that the petitioners have
miscomprehended Paredes vs. 17 Sandiganbayan because that case
did not rule that the writ is no longer available after an information
(or criminal complaint for rape as in this case) is filed against the
person detained; what it stated is that the writ of habeas corpus will
not issue when the person alleged to be restrained of his liberty is
in the custody of an officer under a process issued by the court
which has jurisdiction to do so. She submits that the controlling
doctrine is that 18 enunciated in Ilagan vs. Ponce Enrile, adverted
to in 19 Sanchez vs. Demetriou, “that the filing of charges and the
issuance of the corresponding warrant of arrest, against a person
invalidly detained will cure the defect of that detention or at least
deny him the right to be released because of such defect.‰

Issue:
W/N the CA erred in granting the petition for habeas corpus - Yes,
it erred.
Held:
We find for the petitioners.

The high prerogative writ of habeas corpus, whose origin is 1 lost


in antiquity, was devised and exists as a speedy and effectual
remedy to relieve persons from unlawful restraint and as the best
and only sufficient defense of personal 2 freedom. More
specifically, its vital purposes are to obtain immediate relief from
illegal confinement, to liberate those who may be imprisoned
without sufficient cause, and to deliver them from unlawful
custody. It is then essentially a writ of inquiry and is granted to test
the right under which a person is detained

Under our Constitution, the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus


cannot be suspended except in cases of invasion or rebellion when
the public safety requires it. Pursuant to Section 1, Rule 102 of the
Rules of Court, it extends, except as otherwise provided by law, to
all cases of illegal confinement or detention by which any person
is deprived of his liberty, or by which the rightful custody of any
person is withheld from the person entitled thereto.

It is not available, however, under the instances enumerated in


Section 4 of the said Rule which reads:

"SEC. 4. When writ not allowed or discharge authorized.·If it


appears that (1) the person alleged to be restrained of his liberty is
in the custody of an officer under process issued by a court or
judge or by virtue of a judgment or order of a court of record, and
that the court or judge had jurisdiction to issue the process, render
the judgment, or make the order, the writ shall not be allowed; or
(2) if the jurisdiction appears after the writ is allowed, the person
shall not be discharged by reason of any informality or defect in
the process, judgment, or order.
(3) Nor shall anything in this rule be held to authorize the
discharge of a person charged with or convicted of an offense in
the Philippines, or of a person suffering imprisonment under
lawful judgment.”

I. Propriety of the petition for habeas corpus and certiorari

Concededly, the private respondent has the personality to institute


on behalf of her common-law spouse, Lawrence Larkins, the
habeas corpus aspect of the petition, as she falls within the purview
of the term „some person ‰ under Section 3, Rule 102 of the
Rules of Court, which means any person who has a legally
justified interest in the freedom of the person whose liberty is
restrained or who shows some authorization to make the
application. She is not, however, the real party in interest in the
certiorari aspect of the petition. Only Larkins could institute a
petition for certiorari to set aside the order denying his motions for
bail and for the dismissal of the complaint against him.

It does not, however, follow that if certiorari is available to


Larkins, an application for a writ of habeas corpus will absolutely
be barred. While ordinarily, the writ of habeas corpus will not
be granted when there is an adequate remedy by writ of error
or appeal or by writ of certiorari, it may, nevertheless, be
available in exceptional cases, for the writ should not be
considered subservient to procedural limitations which glorify
form over substance. It must be kept in mind that although the
question most often considered in both habeas corpus and
certiorari proceedings is whether an inferior court has
exceeded its jurisdiction, the former involves a collateral
attack on the judgment and „reaches the body but not the
record, ‰ while the latter assails directly the judgment and
„reaches the record but not the body.‰

II. Merits

The Court of Appeals granted the writ of habeas corpus because it


found that the warrantless arrest of Larkins for the crime of rape
„did not meet the legal requirements provided for in Rule 113 of
the Rules of Court.‰ It could have in mind Section 5 thereof on
lawful warrantless arrest. Even if the arrest of a person is illegal,
supervening events may bar his release or discharge from
custody. What is to be inquired into is the legality of his
detention as of, at the earliest, the filing of the application for a
writ of habeas corpus, for even if the detention is at its
inception illegal, it may, by reason of some supervening events,
such as the instances mentioned in Section 4 of Rule 102, be no
longer illegal at the time of the filing of the application. Among
such supervening events is the issuance of a judicial process
preventing the discharge of the detained person.

Another is the filing of a complaint or information for the offense


for which the accused is detained, as in the instant case. By then,
the restraint of liberty is already by virtue of the complaint or
information and, therefore, the writ of habeas corpus is no longer
available. Section 4 of Rule 102 reads in part as follows: „Nor
shall anything in this rule be held to authorize the discharge of a
person charged with . . . an offense in the Philippines.‰

In Umil vs. Ramos this Court, applying the last sentence of Section
4 of Rule 102, held that the writ of habeas corpus should not be
allowed after the party sought to be released had been charged
before any court.

It may also be said that by filing his motion for bail, Larkins
admitted that he was under the custody of the court and voluntarily
submitted his person to its 29 jurisdiction

The filing of a petition or motion for bail in cases where no bail is


recommended has the same legal import and effect as the posting
of bail in cases where bail is recommended. It is settled that the
giving or posting of bail by the accused is tantamount to
submission of his person to the jurisdiction of the court.

Moreover, the trial courtÊs order of 5 January 1995 denying the


urgent motion for bail was an unequivocal assertion of its authority
to keep in custody the person of Larkins. This order comes under
the purview of the word order under the first sentence of Section 4
of Rule 102 reading: „If it appears that the person alleged to be
restrained of his liberty is in the custody of an officer . . . by virtue
of [an] order of a court of record, and that the court or judge had
jurisdiction to . . . make the order, the writ shall not be allowed . . .
.‰
A commitment order and a warrant of arrest are but species of
judicial process. Invariably a judicial process is defined as a
writ, warrant, subpoena, or other formal writing issued by
authority of law; also, the means of accomplishing an end,
including judicial proceedings, or all writs, warrants,
summonses and orders of courts of justice or judicial officers.
It is likewise held to include a writ, summons or order issued in a
judicial proceeding to acquire jurisdiction of a person or his
property, to expedite the cause or enforce the judgment, or a writ,
warrant, mandate or other process issuing from a court of justice.

We thus rule that the order of 5 January 1995 of the trial court
denying the bail also qualifies as a process within the meaning of
Section 4 of Rule 102. ​

WHEREFORE, the instant petition is GRANTED, and the


decision of the Court of Appeals of 1 February 1995 in CA-G.R.
SP No. 36273 is hereby SET ASIDE and ANNULLED.

2. Moncupa v. Enrile, 141 sCRA 233

Facts:
Petitioner Efren C. Moncupa, together with others, was arrested
on April 22, 1982 at about 10:50 P.M., at the corner of D. Tuazon
Street and Quezon Avenue, Quezon City. Moncupa was brought to
MIG-15 Camp Bago Bantay, Quezon City where he was detained.
On April 23, 1982, on the allegation that he was a National
Democratic Front (NDF) staff member, a Presidential
Commitment Order (PCO) was issued against him and eight
(8) other persons.

After two separate investigations, conducted first, by Lieutenant


Colonel Gerardo Lantoria, Jr., Chief of Task Force Makabansa
Investigation Group and second, by Investigating Fiscal Amado
Costales of Quezon City, it was ascertained that the petitioner was
not a member of any subversive organization. Both investigators
recommended the prosecution of the petitioner only for illegal
possession of firearms and illegal possession of subversive
documents under Presidential Decree No. 33.

Consequently, two separate informations were filed against the


petitioner, one, for illegal possession of firearms before the
Court of First Instance of Rizal and the other for violation of P.D.
33 before the City Court of Quezon City. Against the other
accused, however, the cases filed were for violation of P.D. 885 as
amended. Significantly, the petitioner was excluded from the
charge under the Revised Anti-Subversion Law. During the
pendency of this petition, it is significant that his arraignment
and further proceedings have not been pursued. And yet, the
petitionerÊs motions for bail were denied by the lower court.

Hence, the petitioner filed the instant petition for habeas corpus.

The respondents, in their return of the writ justified the


validity of petitionerÊs detention on the ground that the
privilege of the writ had been suspended as to the petitioner.
However, on August 30, 1983, the respondents filed a motion to
dismiss stating that on May 11, 1983, the petitioner was
temporarily released from detention on orders of the Minister
of National Defense with the approval of the President. The
respondents stated·„Since the petitioner is free and no longer under
the custody of the respondents, the present petition for habeas
corpus may be deemed moot and academic as in similar cases.‰

Issue:
W/N the petition for habeas corpus has become moot and
academic by reason of petitioner’s temporary release - No.

Held:
No.

A prime specification of an application for a writ of habeas corpus


is restraint of liberty. The essential object and purpose of the writ
of habeas corpus is to inquire into all manner of involuntary
restraint as distinguished from voluntary, and to relieve a person
therefrom if such restraint is illegal. Any restraint which will
preclude freedom of action is sufficient

This latitudinarian scope of the writ of habeas corpus has, in law,


remained undiminished up to the present. The respondentsÊ
contention that the petition has become moot and academic must
necessarily be denied. Efren C. Moncupa may have been released
from his detention cell. The restraints attached to his temporary
release, however, preclude freedom of action and under the
Villavicencio v. Lukban rule warrant this CourtÊs inquiry into the
nature of his involuntary restraint and our relieving him of such
restraints as may be illegal.

It is to be noted that attached to the petitionerÊs temporary release


are restrictions imposed on him. These are:
1) His freedom of movement is curtailed by the condition that
petitioner gets the approval of respondents for any travel outside
Metro Manila.
2) His liberty of abode is restricted because prior approval of
respondents is also required in case petitioner wants to change his
place of residence.
3) His freedom of speech is muffled by the prohibition that he
should not „participate in any interview conducted by any local or
foreign mass media representatives nor give any press release or
information that is inimical to the interest of national security.‰
4) He is required to report regularly to respondents or their
representatives.

The petitioner argues that although admittedly his temporary


release is an improvement upon his actual detention, the
restrictions imposed by the respondents constitute an involuntary
and illegal restraint on his freedom. The petitioner stresses that his
temporary release did not render the instant petitioner moot and
academic but that „it merely shifted the inquiry from the legality of
his actual detention to the legality of the conditions imposed by the
respondents.‰
We agree with the petitioner.
The reservation of the military in the form of restrictions attached
to the temporary release of the petitioner constitute restraints on
the liberty of Mr. Moncupa. Such restrictions limit the freedom of
movement of the petitioner. It is not physical restraint alone
which is inquired into by the writ of habeas corpus.

In Villavicencio v. Lukban, the women who had been illegally


seized and transported against their will to Davao were no longer
under any official restraint. Unlike petitioner Moncupa, they were
free to change their domicile without asking for official
permission. Indeed, some of them managed to return to Manila.
Yet, the Court condemned the involuntary restraints caused by the
official action, fined the Mayor of Manila and expressed the hope
that its „decision may serve to bulwark the fortifications of an
orderly government of laws and to protect individual liberty from
illegal encroachment.‰

In the light of the above ruling, the present petition for habeas
corpus has not become moot and academic. Other precedents for
such a conclusion are not wanting.

In another case, "The fact that no physical force has been


exerted to keep her in the house of the respondent does not
make less real the deprivation of her personal freedom of
movement, freedom to transfer from one place to another,
freedom to choose oneÊs residence. Freedom may be lost due
to external moral compulsion, to founded or groundless fear, to
erroneous belief in the existence of the will. If the actual effect
of such psychological spell is to place a person at the mercy of
another, the victim is entitled to the protection of courts of
justice as much as the individual who is illegally deprived of
liberty by duress or physical coercion.”

More recently, we had occasion to rule squarely on whether or not


a temporary release from detention renders the petition for writ of
habeas corpus moot and academic. As in this case of Moncupa, the
petitioners in Toyoto, et al. v. Hon. Fidel Ramos, et al., G.R. No.
69270, October 15, 1985, were temporarily released from
detention. The respondents filed a motion to dismiss the petition
for habeas corpus on the ground that the petitioners had been
temporarily released and their case had, therefore, become moot
and academic. The petitioners insisted, however, that their case
may be considered moot and academic only „if their release would
be permanent.‰ In ruling for the petitioners, we said:

"Ordinarily, a petition for habeas corpus becomes moot and


academic when the restraint on the liberty of the petitioners is
lifted either temporarily or permanently. We have so held in a
number of cases. But the instant case presents a different situation.
The question to be resolved is whether the State can reserve
the power to re-arrest a person for an offense after a court of
competent jurisdiction has absolved him of the offense. An
affirmative answer is the one suggested by the respondents
because the release of the petitioners being merely ÂtemporaryÊ it
follows that they can be re-arrested at anytime despite their
acquittal by a court of competent jurisdiction. We hold that such a
reservation is repugnant to the government of laws and not of men
principle. Under this principle the moment a person is acquitted on
a criminal charge he can no longer be detained or re-arrested for
the same offense. This concept is so basic and elementary that it
needs no elaboration.”

In effect the principle is clear. A release that renders a petition


for a writ of habeas corpus moot and academic must be one
which is free from involuntary restraints. Where a person
continues to be unlawfully denied one or more of his
constitutional freedoms, where there is present a denial of due
process, where the restraints are not merely involuntary but
appear to be unnecessary, and where a deprivation of freedom
originally valid has, in the light of subsequent developments,
become arbitrary, the person concerned or those applying in
his behalf may still avail themselves of the privilege of the writ.

The respondents have failed to show why the writ may not issue
and why the restraints on the petitionerÊs freedom of movement
should not be lifted.

WHEREFORE, the PETITION is GRANTED. The conditions


attached to the temporary release of the petitioner are declared null
and void. The temporary release of the petitioner is declared
ABSOLUTE. No costs. SO ORDERED.

3. Harden vs. Director of Prisons, 81 Phil. 741

Facts:
The petitioner, Fred M. Harden, is being confined in prison for
contempt of court until he complies with the prior orders of the
RTC.

The proceeding for contempt arose in a civil case between Mrs.


Harden as plaintiff and the petitioner and another person as
defendants, commenced on July 12, 1941, and involving the
administration of a conjugal partnership, payment of alimony,
and accounting. In that case, a receiver was appointed and a
preliminary injunction was issued restraining Fred M. Harden and
his codefendant, Jose Salumbides, from transferring or alienating,
except for a valuable consideration and with the consent of the
court first had and obtained, moneys, shares of stock, and other
properties and assets, real or personal, belonging to the aforesaid
partnership, and which might be found in the names of said
defendants or either of them.

On various dates, Harden transferred to HSBC and the Chartered


Bank of India, Australia, and China over P1M in drafts or cash,
among other transfers to foreign entities.

Mrs. Harden moved the court to order Harden to return all these
amounts and to redeposit them with the Manila branch of the
Chartered Bank of India.

RTC granted the motion and ordered Harden to return the amounts
“with the understanding that upon failure to comply with this
order, he will be declared in contempt of court.”

On July 28, 1947, Mrs. Harden complained that her husband failed
to comply with the above order and prayed that he be ordered to
show cause why he should not be declared in contempt. On August
1, 1947, Harden filed a perfunctory compliance, and in an order
dated August 2, 1947, he was required to „make a detailed report
of the stock certificates which have been duly registered in
accordance with Republic Act No. 62." In his „compliance‰ dated
August 7, 1947, Harden stated that he had been granted an
extension until December 31, 1947, within which to register the
Balatoc Mining Co. shares under Republic Act No. 62.

It was at this stage of the case that the present petitioner was
committed to jail.

Issue:
W/N the Petition for Habeas Corpus should be granted or is the
proper remedy - No.

Held:
No.

Broadly speaking, the grounds for relief by habeas corpus are only
(1) deprivation of any fundamental or constitutional rights,
(2) lack of jurisdiction of the court to impose the sentence, or
(3) excessive penalty.

The fact that the property is in a foreign country is said to deprive


the court of jurisdiction, the remedy in such case being, it is
contended, ancillary receivership. We can not agree with this view.
While a court can not give its receiver authority to act in another
state without the assistance of the courts thereof (53 C.J., 390–
391), yet it may act directly upon the parties before it with respect
to property beyond the territorial limits of its jurisdiction, and hold
them in contempt if they resist the courtÊs orders with reference to
its custody or disposition (Id. 118). Whether the property was
removed before or after the appointment of the receiver is likewise
immaterial.

The penalty complained of is neither cruel, unjust nor excessive. In


Ex-parte Kemmler, 136 U.S., 436, the United States Supreme
Court said that „punishments are cruel when they involve torture
or a lingering death, but the punishment of death is not cruel,
within the meaning of that word as used in the constitution. It
implies there something inhuman and barbarous, something more
than the mere extinguishment of life.‰ The punishment meted out
to the petitioner is not excessive. It is suitable and adapted to its
objective; and it accords with section 7, Rule 64. of the Rules of
Court which provides that „when the contempt consists in the
omission to do an act which is yet in the power of the accused to
perform, he may be imprisoned by order of a superior court until
he performs it.‰

If the term of imprisonment in this case is indefinife and might last


through the natural life of the petitioner, yet by the terms of theÊ
sentence the way is left open for him to avoid serving any part of it
by complying with the orders of the court, and in this manner put
an end to his incarceration. In these circumstances, the judgment
can not be said to be excessive or unjust.
Whether or not in truth the courtÊs findings are supported by
sufficient evidence is a different matter; it is a matter of fact which
can not be reviewed by habeas corpus. In a long line of decisions,
this court has steadfastly held that habeas corpus does not lie to
correct errors of fact or law.

When a court has jurisdiction of the offense charged and of the


party who is so charged, its judgment, order or decree is not
subject to collateral attack by habeas corpus. The writ of.
habeas corpus can not be made to perform the function of a
writ of error; and this holds true even if the judgment, order
or decree was erroneous, provided it is within the jurisdiction
of the court which rendered such judgment or issued such an
order or decree.

The petition is denied with costs. Moran, C.J., Ozaeta, Parás, Feria,
Pablo, Bengzon, Briones, and Montemayor, JJ.. concur.

4. Chavez v. CA, 24 SCRA 663

Facts:
Petitioner Chavez was charged for qualified theft of a motor
vehicle (Thunderbird car).

Averred in the aforesaid information was that on or about the 14th


day of November, 1962, in Quezon City, the accused conspired,
with intent of gain, abuse of confidence and without the consent of
the owner thereof, Dy Sun Hiok y Lim, in asporting the motor
vehicle abovedescribed. Upon arraignment, all the accused, except
the three Does who have not been identified nor apprehended,
pleaded not guilty.

During trial, the accused-petitioner Chavez was compelled to


take the witness stand for the prosecution despite his
objections.

RTC convicted holding that “Roger Chavez does not offer any
defense. As a matter of ​fact, his testimony as witness for the
prosecution establishes his guilt beyond reasonable doubt." The
trial court branded him “a self-confessed culprit."

CA dismissed the appeal. A move to reconsider was unavailing.


For, on June 21, 1968, the Court of Appeals, through a per curiam
resolution, disposed to maintain its May 14 resolution dismissing
the appeal, directed the City Warden of Manila where Chavez is
confined by virtue of the warrant of arrest issued by the Court of
Appeals, to turn him over to Muntinlupa Bilibid Prisons pending
execution of the judgment below, and ordered remand of the case
to the Qu-ezon City court for execution of judgment.

Hence this petition for habeas corpus.

Issue:
W/N the petition for habeas corpus was the proper remedy taken -
Yes.
Held:
The course which petitioner takes is correct. Habeas corpus is a
high prerogative writ. It is traditionally considered as an
exceptional remedy to release a person whose liberty is illegally
restrained such as when the accused's constitutional rights are
disregarded. Such defect results in the absence or loss of
jurisdiction and therefore invalidates the trial and the
consequent conviction of the accused whose fundamental right
was 34 violated. That void judgment of conviction may be
challenged by collateral attack, which precisely is the function
of habeas corpus. This writ may issue even if another remedy
which is less 36 effective may be availed of by the defendant.
Thus, failure by the accused by the accused to perfect his appeal
before the Court of 37 Appeals does not preclude a recourse to the
writ. The writ 38 may be granted upon a judgment already
final. For, as explained in Johnson vs. Zerbst, the writ of
habeas corpus as an extraordinary remedy must be liberally
given effectTM so as to protect well a person whose liberty is at
stake. The propriety of the writ was given the nod in that case,
involving a violation of another constitutional right.

Under our own Rules of Court, to grant the remedy to the accused
Roger Chavez whose case presents a clear picture of disregard of a
constitutional right is absolutely proper. Section 1 of Rule 102
extends the writ, unless otherwise expressly provided by law, "to
all cases of illegal confinement or detention by which any person
is deprived of his liberty, or by which the rightful custody of any
person is withheld from the person entitled thereto." Just as we are
about to write finis to our task, we are prompted to restate that: "A
void judgment is in legal effect no judgment. By it no rights are
divested. From it no rights can be obtained. Being worthless in
itself, all proceedings founded upon it are equally worthless. It
neither binds nor bars any one. All acts performed under it
and all claims flowing out of it are void. The parties attempting
to enforce it may be responsible as trespassers.

Respondents' return shows that petitioner is still serving under a


final and valid judgment of conviction for another offense. We
should guard against the improvident issuance of an order
discharging a petitioner from confinement. Th-e position we take
here is that petitioner herein is entitled to liberty thru habeas
corpus only with respect to Criminal Case Q-5311 of the Court
of First Instance of Rizal, Quezon City Branch, under which he
was prosecuted and convicted.

Upon the view we take of this case, judgment is hereby rendered


directing the respondent Warden of the City Jail of Manila or
the Director of Prisons or any other officer or person in
custody of petitioner Roger Chavez by reason of the judgment of
the Court of First Instance of Rizal, Quezon City Branch, in
Criminal Case Q-5311, entitled "People of the Philippines,
plaintiff, vs. Ricardo Sumilang. et al., accused," to discharge said
Roger Chavez from custody, unless he is held, kept in custody
or detained for any cause or reason other than the said
judgment in said Criminal Case 5311 of the Court of First
Instance of Rizal, Quezon City Branch, in which event the
discharge herein directed shall be effected when such other cause
or reason ceases to exist.
No costs. So ordered.

5. Paguntalan vs. Director of Prisons, 57 Phil. 141

Facts:
This petition for the writ of habeas corpus was filed by prisoner
Ignacio P. Paguntalan praying that after proper proceedings the
Director of Prisons be ordered to set him at liberty immediately, on
the ground that he is being illegally detained. The illegality of his
detention consists, according to the petitioner, in that he is not
a habitual criminal, accord​ing to the definition given, in article
62, paragraph 5, of the Revised Penal Code and to the doctrine
laid down by this court in People vs. Santiago (55 PhiL, 266) ;
and, having already served four years, nine months, and six​teen
days of imprisonment, the remainder of the penalty imposed upon
him is not authorised by law.

On January 7, 1915, the petitioner was sentenced by the Court of


First Instance of Occidental Negros to two years, four months, and
one day of prision correctional for the crime of abduction, and set
at liberty on March 4, 1917.

On December 8, 1921, the same petitioner was sentenced by the


Court of First Instance of Manila to two months and one day of
arresto mayor for the crime of estafa.

On December 9, 1921, he was again sentenced by the Court of


First Instance of Manila to three years, six months, and twenty-one
days of prision correctional for the crime of robbery.

On the same day, December 9, 1921, the petitioner was sentenced


by the municipal court of Manila to two months and one day of
arresto mayor, and an indemnity of P145 for the crime of estafa.

On January 31, 1922, the same petitioner was sentenced by the


Court of First Instance of Manila to one year, eight months, and
twenty-one days of prision correctional for the crime of robbery.

Having served the last three sentences, the petitioner was released
on September 14, 1926.

On October 24, 1927, he was sentenced by the Court of First


Instance of Batangas to 10 years' imprisonment for the crime of
robbery, besides an additional penalty of five years for habitual
delinquency.

Hence this petition for habeas corpus arguing that he is not a


habitual criminal, accord​ing to the definition given, in article
62, paragraph 5, of the Revised Penal Code and to the doctrine
laid down by this court in People vs. Santiago (55 PhiL, 266) ;
and, having already served four years, nine months, and six​teen
days of imprisonment, the remainder of the penalty imposed upon
him is not authorised by law.

Held:
In the present case the petitioner does not invoke the benefit of
article 22 of the Revised Penal Code, giving retro​- active effect
to penal provisions so far as they are favorable to the accused,
provided he is not an habitual criminal, but seeks the review of
a sentence which has proved erro​neous in view of a subsequent
doctrine laid down by this court the error consisting in that,
instead of counting the various convictions as one only, due to
the proximity and almost simultaneity of the commission of the
several crimes of which the petitioner was convicted, the same
were considered as separate convictions for the purposes of the
law establishing habitual delinquency.

This error could have been corrected by appeal, for it was


rather an error of judgment and not an undue exercise of
judicial powers which vitiates and nullifies the proceeding.
This court has repeatedly held that mere errors of fact or law
which do not nullify the proceedings taken by a court in the
exercise of its functions, having jurisdiction over the crime and
over the defendant, cannot be corrected through the special
remedy of habeas corpus. (Trono Felipe vs. Director of Prisons,
24 Phil., 121; U. S. vs. Jayme, 24 Phil., 90; McMicking vs.
Schields, 238 U. S., 99; 41 Phil., 971.)

In view of the foregoing considerations and the doctrines laid


down by this court, the herein petitioner being committed in
Bilibid Prison by virtue of a legal and valid judgment without
having served his full sentence, the petition for habeas corpus is
hereby denied, without special pronouncement of costs. So
ordered.
6. Florendo v. Javier 76 SCRA 204

Facts:
In this petition for habeas corpus filed on January 15, 1973,
petitioners allege that on December 4, 1972, they were taken from
their respective residence by individuals posing as police officers,
including a certain Capt. Javier of the Philippine Constabulary, and
then detained for more than one (1) month without any specific
offense being filed against them nor any judicial writ or order
issued 1 for their commitment.

Acting on this petition, the Court adopted a resolution on January


15, 1973, for the issuance of the writ of habeas corpus. The
respondents were also required to file an answer to the petition.

The hearing was then scheduled for January 22, 1973. In his
answer, respondent Capt. Javier called attention to the fact that the
petition for habeas corpus was not verified as required by Section
3, Rule 102, Rules of Court, and that it stated no cause of action.
He also averred that petitioners were arrested pursuant to a warrant
of arrest issued on November 24, 1972 by the Secretary of
National Defense and that petitioners are being detained for the
crime of direct assault with murder of the late Pat. Antonio Paz,
Police Department, Pasig, Rizal, and for threatening witnesses, 2
contrary to General Orders Nos. 2-A and 2-D, with respect to
which 3 offenses the privilege of the writ has been suspended.

On the day scheduled for hearing, the counsel for petitioners


manifested their intention, “not to argue the case” because several
other cases of the same nature which have been heard by the Court
were pending adjudication. In their manifestation, petitioners also
stated that they were submitting the case for adjudication, having
adopted the arguments advanced by petitioners’ counsel in similar
cases which he had submitted earlier. Moreover, counsel for
petitioners noted the fact that petitioners were brought to the
Supreme Court on the day set for hearing.

In a resolution of this Court dated February 20, 1973, this case was
considered submitted for decision when petitioners failed to
comply with the resolution of January 22, 1973 requiring them to
comment on the return to the writ and answer filed by the Solicitor
4 General.

Held:
This failure of petitioners to file a reply compels Us to dismiss
the present petition. This is in line with the ruling laid down 56 in
“Lorenzo vs. McCoy” and “Arocha vs. Vivo,” where it was held
that unless the allegations in the return are controverted, they are
deemed to be true or admitted, pursuant to Section 13, Rule 102,
Rules of Court, which provides that the “return shall be
considered prima facie evidence of the cause of restraint, if it
appears that the prisoner is in custody under a warrant of
commitment in pursuance of law.” Petitioners’ arrest and
detention have been explained by the Solicitor General as
authorized by an arrest, search and seizure order issued by the
Minister of National Defense in connection with the crime of
direct assault with murder and for threatening witnesses. Since
this allegation that the arrest was by virtue of a “warrant of
commitment in pursuance of law” has not been denied,
petitioners are deemed to have admitted the legality of their
detention, and habeas corpus would, accordingly, not lie.

WHEREFORE, the petition is dismissed. Without pronouncement


as to costs. SO ORDERED.

7. Dizon v. Eduardo, 158 SCRA 470

Facts:
Eduardo Dizon and Isabel Ramos had been arrested with others
by the military, detained in the military camp, and then claimed by
the military to have been released after nine days. But they were
not released to their parents, who had been visiting them, nor to
any other responsible person·and were never seen or heard from by
anyone since then.

This application for the issuance of a writ of habeas corpus had


been filed on December 17, 1981 by petitioners, Juan Dizon and
Soledad Ramos, on behalf of their son, Eduardo Dizon and their
daughter, Isabel Ramos, respectively, who were arrested on
September 15, 1981 by Philippine Constabulary (PC) elements of
the Pampanga PC Command then led by respondent Provincial
Commander Col. Teddy Carian at Barrio Sto. Rosario, Sta. Ana,
Pampanga without warrant of arrest or Presidential Order of
Arrest. They were detained by the respondents at the PC Stockade
at San Fernando, Pampanga under the jurisdiction of respondents
Brig. Gen. Vicente Eduardo, then Regional Commander of the
area, holding office at Camp Olivas, and Col. Teddy Carian for
interrogation and investigation without assistance of counsel.

The desaparecidos were allegedly released nine days later, or


on September 24,1981, as per their release papers of the same
date.11 However, they were never seen nor heard from since
their supposed release.

Alleging that the signatures of the desaparecidos on their release


papers were falsified and thus, they were never released by the
military·said release being a scheme of the respondents to prolong
their detention, torture and interrogation, the petitioners- parents
filed the petition at bar on December 17, 1981.

The Court issued the writ of habeas corpus on December 29, 1981.
In the return of the writ filed on behalf of respondents on January
5, 1982, by then Solicitor General Estelito P. Mendoza, and
verified by respondent, then Provincial Commander Col. Carian,
respondents insisted that the detainees were indeed released on
September 24,1981, and submitted the supporting affidavits dated
December 30, 1981 of Major Reynaldo C. Cabauatan and 1st Lt.
Roque S. Maranon, both assigned with respondent Carian's
Provincial Respondents denied petitioners' allegation of
falsification of the detainees' signatures on their release papers,
claiming that the same were signed in their presence and asked for
dismissal of the petition.

Issues:
1. When respondents’ defense to a petition for habeas corpus is
that they released the detainees for whom the petition was filed,
but the allegation of release is disputed by petitioners, and it is not
denied that the detainees have not been seen or heard from since
their supposed release, do petitioners have the burden in law of
proving that the detainees are still detained by respondents or does
the burden shift to respondents of proving that they did release the
detainees? Yes, burden is on respondents to prove fact of release.

2. Secondly, if respondents have the burden of proving by clear


and convincing evidence that they released the detainees, have
they in fact discharged that burden in this case? No.

3. And lastly, if respondents have not satisfied the Court that they
released the detainees, but nevertheless refuse or are unable to
produce their bodies, what relief may the Court grant petitioners?
None.

Held:
1. Yes, burden is on respondents to prove fact of release.
On the first question, we have applied the general rule in a number
of cases that the release of a detained person renders the petition
for habeas corpus moot and academic. Respondents make such a
plea in line with their return that they had released the
desaparecidos after nine days. But their return begs the question.
The cited general rule postulates that the release of the
detainees is an established fact and not in dispute, and that
they do not continue to be missing persons or desaparecidos.
Where, however, there are grounds for grave doubts about the
alleged release of the detainees, which we share particularly, where
the standard and prescribed procedure in effecting the release has
not been followed, then the burden of proving by clear and
convincing evidence the alleged release is shifted to the
respondents. Release is an affirmative defense and "each party
must prove his own affirmative allegations," just as the burden
of proof of self-defense in a killing rests on the accused.

2. No.
The signatures of the detainees on their release papers were
falsified. (Petitioners submitted specimen signatures of the
desaparecidos Eduardo Dizon and Isabel Ramos, attached as
Annexes "B" and "C", respectively, of the petition. At the hearing
of the case on January 7, 1982, the records of the PC/INP
Command, San Fernando, Pampanga were submitted to this Court
by the Solicitor General. On page 33 thereof, is found the
application for registration as voter of Eduardo Dizon which was
filed with the Election Registrar of Sta. Ana, Pampanga, on
October 29, 1977, while on page 88-95, are found the statement of
Isabel Ramos when she previously surrendered to the Bataan PC
Command in 1978, the booking sheet and arrest report, and on
pages 51-62 and 73-84 are copies of her statement executed on
September 16,1981, after her second arrest. A xerox copy of the
voting record of Eduardo Dizon, when he voted at Sta. Ana,
Pampanga in the 1981 presidential election was also submitted.
The documents bear the signatures of the undisputed detainees.
Diokno submitted that even the signatures of the detainees on
documents that respondents themselves submitted are markedly
different from the signatures on their supposed release certificates.
With respect to Eduardo Dizon, Diokno noted particularly the very
poor line quality of Dizon's signature on the release certificate
when compared to the speed and freedom of this signature on his
voter's application form. With respect to Isabel Ramos, the final
letter "s" in Ramos in the waiver of detention and certificate of
release do not contain any retrace or flourish, whereas in all her
signatures on her statements the final letter "s" has a retrace like an
"x" as the last stroke.

Respondents did not follow the prescribed standard procedure for


releasing detainees:
a) Respondents did not release the detainees to their parents.
though the latter had been visiting them and, in fact, Dizon's father
was in the camp on the very day he was supposedly released.
Failing this, they should be released to another responsible person
in the community. This is the standard practice, as shown by the
certificate of release of Isabel Ramos when she was first taken into
custody in 1978 as well as the certificates of release of the other
alleged "Communist Terrorists" arrested with the two
desaparecidos who were released a day ahead.
b) Defense Ministry regulations require that releases be reported to
the Ministry within 72 hours. Respondent Carian did not report the
supposed releases to the Ministry. In fact, he did not even report
their "releases" to his regional commander, respondent Gen.
Eduardo.
c) Respondent Carian’s command could not readily furnish copies
of the detainees' release certificates to their parents when the latter
asked for them. They took one month to produce the certificate of
Isabel and three months to produce that of Eduardo.
d) Respondent Col. Carian had no authority, inherent or delegated,
to release the detainees. In respondents' return, it was stated that
the two were arrested in flagrante delicto with unlicensed firearms
and explosives. Under General Order No. 67 (October 8, 1980),
only the President or his duly authorized representative could have
released the two before trial, Respondent Carian's records also fail
to show that he consulted with respondent General Eduardo, much
less with Defense Minister Enrile, before he supposedly released
the detainees.

The inherent implausibility of respondent Carian's reason for


supposedly releasing the detainees·that they had agreed to act as
spies.
a) Respondent Carian says he knew that Isabel had once before
been detained for subversive activities and, after her release, had
resumed those activities. It is unlikely that Isabel would have
agreed to become a spy and even more unlikely that respondent
Carian would have believed her if she had.
b) Respondent Carian knew that the probability of the detainees'
keeping their supposed bargain was remote. Yet, he took no
precautions to insure compliance. Worse, when they broke the
supposed bargain by failing to report as he says they agreed to, he
took no steps to look for them.
c) If respondent Carian wanted the detainees to become spies, he
certainly made sure neither would be effective. He did not follow
the prescribed procedure in releasing them. That made the release
and consequently the detainees themselves·immediately suspect.
He required them to report to his command twice a month. That
made it virtually certain that their activities would be discovered,
and soon. by their comrades. He eagerly revealed the supposed
bargain in his defense in this case, making it a matter of public
record. That effectively stifled any possibility of the supposed
bargain's ever being carried out. It appears clear that no bargain
was ever made with the detainees for them to be released in order
for them to act as spies, The given reason for their release in order
to act as spies appears far from credible·considering that
respondents were admittedly aware of the risk that the detainees
"would renege on their promise," The burden of proving their
actual release remains undischarged!

3.
The Court regrets that it cannot grant the relief sought by
petitioners. It is not the repository of all remedies for every
grievance. But the Court does state that under the facts and
circumstances above set forth, it is far from satisfied and as already
indicated shares the grave doubts about public respondents'
allegation that they had released the desaparecidos on September
24,1981, nine days after they were taken into custody. Petitioners’
charges of falsification of the detainees' alleged signatures on the
certificates of release, compounded by the irregularities and failure
of respondents to follow the prescribed procedure in effecting the
release for purposes of authentication and to produce and furnish
the parents upon request copies of the release certificates (taking
one month in the case of Isabel Ramos and three months in the
case of Eduardo Dizon) need thorough investigation. If duly
determined, they would involve, as indicated by Diokno,
prosecution for criminal contempt, falsification of public
documents, perjury and violation of Article 125 of the Revised
Penal Code requiring delivery of detained persons to the judicial
authority within the periods therein fixed, and worse. This
connotes that the respondents with their subordinates who
executed the supporting affidavits, Major Cabauatan and Lt,
Maranon, were involved in a grand conspiracy for the purpose.
The Court cannot make this determination. It is not a trier of facts,
nor does it have the means and facilities to conduct such
investigation of the grave charges at bar as well as of the
whereabouts and fate of the desaparecidos.

On May 5, 1987, President Corazon C. Aquino issued Executive


Order No. 163 declaring the effectivity of the creation of the
Commission On Human Rights as provided for in the 1987
Constitution. This case (as well as all other cases, past and present)
may therefore be properly referred to said Commission for a full
and thorough investigation and determination of the facts and
circumstances surrounding the disappearance of Eduardo Dizon
and Isabel Ramos and of the related grave charges of petitioners
against the respondents and the other officers above-named.

ACCORDINGLY, the Court Resolved to refer this case to the


Commission on Human Rights for investigation and appropriate
action as may be warranted by its findings, and to furnish the
Court with a report of the outcome of its investigation and action
taken thereon. This Resolution is immediately executory.

8. Lee Yick Hon v. Collector of Customs, 41 Phil 548


Facts:
It appears that on July 23, 1920, a petition for the writ of habeas
corpus was filed in the Court of First Instance of Manila by one
Lee Yick Hon, alleging he had lately arrived from China at the port
of Manila with a view to entering the Philippine Islands, but was
prevented from so doing by the Insular Collector of Customs, who
was detaining him for deportation.

Upon the presentation of said petition, his Honor, Pedro


Concepcion, presiding in Sala IV of said court, cited the collector
to appear and show cause in writing- why the writ of habeas
corpus should not be issued as prayed. This citation was served
at about 11 a. m., at which hour arrangements had already been
perfected for the deportation of Lee Yick Hon on a boat scheduled
to leave Manila for Hongkong at noon on the same day; and either
by oversight or design the Insular Collector failed to countermand
the order for his embarcation on that boat. The result was that Lee
Yick Hon was deported within two or three hours after the Insular
Collector had been served with the citation to show cause in the
habeas corpus proceeding. Thereupon contempt proceedings were
instituted against the Insular Collector. The Court of First Instance
of Manila imposed upon him a fine of P50 for an alleged contempt
of court.

Petitioner was found guilty of contempt because, by allowing Lee


Yick Hon to be deported, he has frustrated the possible issuance of
the writ of habeas corpus for which application had been made.

Issue:
W/N the CFI erred in citing the Customs Collector in contempt -
Yes.

Held:
Yes.

The conditions under which a person can be punished for contempt


are precisely defined in sections 231 and 232 of the Code of Civil
Procedure; and unless the reprobated conduct legitimately falls
under those provisions, it cannot be punished as for contempt. The
first of these sections contemplates misbehavior in the presence of
the court or so near the court or judge as to obstruct the
administration of justice. With this situation we are not here
concerned, as the act which constitutes the alleged contempt was
committed away from the presence of the court and if punishable
at all, it falls under subsection (1) of section 232, wherein it is
declared that any person may be punished as for contempt who is
guilty of "disobedience of or resistance to a lawful writ,
process, order, judgment, or command of the court or
injunction granted by a court or judge."

In this case before us, if it be asked what lawful writ, process,


order, judgment or command of the court or judge below was
disobeyed or resisted by the appellant, the answer must be:
None whatever. The citation that was served upon the appellant
required him to appear at a stated time in the Court of First
Instance of Manila and show cause if any there might be, why the
writ prayed for should not issue. That citation was literally
complied with when, on July 30, 1920, the Attorney-General,
on behalf of the Insular Collector, filed his answer, wherein it
was in effect stated that the case of Lee Yick Hon had been
regularly passed upon by the Special Board of Inquiry, and
that it had been found that he had entered the Philippine
Islands in contravention of the Immigration and Exclusion
Acts, wherefore the Insular Collector had ordered his
deportation. That answer, so far as appears in this case, has not
been f ound to be false or insufficient; and the sole ground relied
upon to sustain the judgment finding the appellant guilty of
contempt is that by allowing Lee Yick Hon to be deported
under the conditions stated he has frustrated the possible
issuance of the writ of habeas corpus for which application had
been made.

At this point attention should be directed to the fact that the order
to show cause, a copy of which was served on the Insular Collector
of Customs on July 23, 1920, is not the peremptory writ of
habeas corpus unconditionally commanding the respondent to
have the body of the detained person before the court at a time
and place therein specified. The requisites of the peremptory writ
of habeas corpus are stated in section 533 of the Code of Civil
Procedure; and appropriate forms are supplied in section 534 of
said Code and in section 82 of General Orders, No. 58. The order
served in the case before us was merely a preliminary citation
requiring the respondent to appear and show cause why the
peremptory writ should not be granted. The practice of issuing
a preliminary citation of this character, upon applications for the
writ of habeas corpus, has, as all legal practitioners are aware,
become common in our courts; and upon considerations of
practical convenience, the usage has much to commend it, in cases
where the necessity for the immediate issuance of the peremptory
writ is not manifest. Nevertheless in a case like that now before us,
it is necessary to take account of the difference between the
preliminary citation and the real writ of habeas corpus; and
when advertence is had to this point, and the actual terms of
the citation are considered, it is at once obvious that the
appellant did not put himself in contempt by allowing Lee Yick
Hon to be deported.

In proceedings against a person alleged to be guilty of contempt of


court, it is not to be forgotten that such proceedings are commonly
treated as criminal in their nature even when the acts complained
of are incidents of civil actions. For this reason the mode of
procedure and rules of evidence in contempt proceedings are
assimilated as far as practicable to those adapted to criminal
prosecutions. (6 R. C. L., p. 530.) Moreover, it is well settled that a
person cannot be held liable for contempt in the violation of an
injunction or in fact of any judicial order unless the act which is
forbidden or required to be done is clearly and exactly defined, so
as to leave no reasonable doubt or uncertainty as to what specific
act or thing is forbidden or required. (U. S. vs. Atchison, etc., R.
Co., 146 Fed., 176, 183.) A party cannot be punished for
contempt in failing to do something not specified in the order.
(13 C. J., 15.) In the case before us, the deportation of the
petitioner was not forbidden by any order of the court, and
hence that act cannot be considered as disobedience to the
court.
The authorities have been closely and exhaustively examined, and
the rule deducible therefrom is, that unless the court has
jurisdiction of the supposed contemner, or some order, decree, or
process has been resisted or disobeyed, the court has no
jurisdiction ,to punish for contempt. Jurisdiction over the party will
not confer power to punish for contempt unless some order,
decree, or process has been disobeyed or the party is guilty of
some act of the nature of malpractice in the case, or has disobeyed
the reasonable rules of the court."

The considerations found in that decision are applicable to the case


now bef ore us and corroborate the conclusion to be inevitably
drawn from our own provisions relative to contempt, namely, that
the deportation of Lee Yick Hon by the Insular Collector under the
circumstances stated was not a contempt of court. Judgment is
reversed and the defendant absolved, with costs de oficio. So
ordered.

9. Villavicencio vs. Lukban, 39 Phil. 778

Facts:
The Mayor of the city of Manila, Justo Lukban, for the best of all
reasons, to exterminate vice, ordered the segregated district for
women of ill repute, which had been permitted for a number of
years in the city of Manila, closed.

Between October 16 and October 25, 1918, the women were kept
confined to their houses in the district by the police. Presumably,
during this period, the city authorities quietly perfected
arrangements with the Bureau of Labor for sending the women to
Davao, Mindanao, as laborers; with some government office for
the use of the coastguard cutters Corregidor and Negros, and with
the Constabulary for a guard of soldiers.

At any rate, about midnight of October 25, the police, acting


pursuant to orders from the. chief of police, Anton Hohmann and
the Mayor of the city of Manila, Justo Lukban, descended
upon the houses, hustled some 170 inmates into patrol wagons,
and placed them aboard the steamers that awaited their
arrival. The women were given no opportunity to collect their
belongings, and apparently were under the impression that
they were being taken to a police station for an investigation.
They had no knowledge that they were destined for a life in
Mindanao. They had not been asked if they wished to depart
from that region and had neither directly nor indirectly given
their consent to the deportation. The involuntary guests were
received on board the steamers by a representative of the
Bureau of Labor and a detachment of Constabulary soldiers.

The two steamers with their unwilling passengers sailed for Davao
during the night of October 25. The vessels reached their
destination at Davao on October 29. The women were landed and
receipted for as laborers by Francisco Sales, provincial governor of
Davao, and by Feliciano Yñigo and Rafael Castillo. The governor
and the hacendero Yñigo, who appear as parties in the case, had no
previous notification that the women were prostitutes who had
been expelled from the city of Manila.
The further happenings to these women and the serious charges
growing out of alleged ill-treatment are of public interest, but are
not essential to the disposition of this case. Suffice it to say,
generally, that some of the women married, others assumed more
or less clandestine relations with men, others went to work in
different capacities, others assumed a life unknown and
disappeared, and a goodly portion found means to return to
Manila.

To turn back in our narrative, just about the time the Corregidor
and the Negros were putting in to Davao, the attorney for the
relatives and friends of a considerable number of the deportees
presented an application for habeas corpus to a member of the
Supreme Court. Subsequently, the application, through stipulation
of the parties, was made to include all of the women who were sent
away from Manila to Davao and, as the same questions concerned
them all, the application will be considered as including them.

The application set forth the salient facts, which need not be
repeated, and alleged that the women were illegally restrained
of their liberty by Justo Lukban, Mayor of the city of Manila,
Anton Hohmann, chief of police of the city of Manila, and by
certain unknown parties. The writ was made returnable before
the full court.

The city fiscal appeared f or the respondents, Lukban and


Hohmann, admitted certain facts relative to sequestration and
deportation, and prayed that the writ should not be granted
1. because the petitioners were not proper parties,
2. because the action should have been begun in the Court of
First Instance for Davao, Department of Mindanao and Sulu,
3. because the respondents did not have any of the women
under their custody or control, and
4. because their jurisdiction did not extend beyond the
boundaries of the city of. Manila.

According to an exhibit attached to the answer of the fiscal, the


170 women were destined to be laborers, at good salaries, on the
haciendas of Yñigo and Governor Sales. In open court, the fiscal
admitted, in answer to a question of a member of the court, that
these women had been sent out of Manila without their consent.

The court awarded the writ, in an order of November 4, that


directed Justo Lukban, Mayor of the city of Manila, Anton
Hohmann, chief of police of the city of Manila, Francisco Sales,
governor of the province of Davao, and Feliciano Yñigo, an
hacendero of Davao, to bring before the court the persons therein
named, alleged to be deprived of their liberty, on December 2,
1918.

Before the date mentioned, seven of the women had returned to


Manila at their own expense. On motion of counsel for petitioners,
their testimony was taken before the clerk of the Supreme Court
sitting as commissioner. On the day named in the order,
December 2d, 1918, none of the persons in whose behalf the
writ was issued were produced in court by the respondents. It
has since been shown that three of those who had been able to
come back to Manila through their own efforts, were notified by
the police and the secret service to appear before the court. The
fiscal appeared, repeated the facts more comprehensively,
reiterated the stand taken by him when pleading to the original
petition. copied a telegram f rom the Mayor of the city of Manila
to the provincial governor of Davao and the answer thereto, and
telegrams that had passed between the Director of Labor and the
attorney for that Bureau then in Davao, and offered certain
affidavits showing that the women were contented with their life in
Mindanao and did not wish to return to Manila.

Respondent Sales answered alleging that it was not possible to


fulfill the order of the Supreme Court because the women had
never been under his control, because they were at liberty in the
Province of Davao, and because they had married or signed
contracts as laborers. Respondent Yñigo answered alleging that he
did not have any of the women under his control and that therefore
it was impossible for him to obey the mandate.

The court, after due deliberation, on December 10, 1918,


promulgated a second order, which related that the
respondents had not complied with the original order to the
satisfaction of the court nor explained their failure to do so,
and therefore directed that those of the women not in Manila
be brought before the court by respondents Lukban, Hohmann,
Sales, and Yñigo on January 13, 1919, unless the women should,
in written statements voluntarily made before the judge of first
instance of Davao or the clerk of that court, renounce the right,
or unless the respondents should demonstrate some other legal
motives that made compliance impossible. It was further stated
that the question of whether the respondents were in contempt of
court would later be decided and the reasons for the order
announced in the final decision.

Issue:
W/N the court properly granted the petition for habeas corpus on
the ground that the Mayor and Chief of Police of Manila had no
authority to force the women out of Manila - Yes.

Held:
Yes

I. Habeas Corpus is the proper remedy.


170 women, who had lived in the segregated district for women of
ill repute in the city of Manila, were by orders of the Mayor of the
city of Manila and the chief of police of that city isolated from
society and then at night, without their consent and without any
opportunity to consult with friends or to defend their rights, were
forcibly hustled on board steamers for transportation to regions
unknown. No law, order, or regulation authorized the Mayor of the
city of Manila or the chief of the police of that city to force citizens
of the Philippine Islands to change their domicile from Manila to
another locality. Held: That the writ of habeas corpus was properly
granted, and that the Mayor of the city of Manila who was
primarily responsible for the deportation, is in contempt of court
for his failure to comply with the order of the court.

The remedies of the unhappy victims of official oppression are


three: (1) Civil action; (2) criminal action, and (3) habeas corpus.
A civil action was never intended effectively and promptly to meet
a situation in which there is restraint of liberty. That the act may be
a crime and that the person may be proceeded against is also no
bar to the institution of habeas corpus proceedings. Habeas corpus
is the proper remedy.

The writ of habeas corpus was devised and exists as a speedy and
effectual remedy to relieve persons from unlawful restraint, and as
the best and only sufficient defense of personal freedom.

II. The petition was properly granted.


Granted that habeas corpus is the proper remedy, respondents have
raised three specific objections to its issuance in this instance. The
fiscal has argued
(1) that there is a defect in parties petitioners,
(2) that the Supreme Court should not assume jurisdiction, and
(3) that the persons in question are not restrained of their liberty by
respondents. It was finally suggested that the jurisdiction of the
Mayor and the chief of police of the city of Manila only extends to
the city limits and that perf orce they could not bring the women
from Davao.

All contentions must fail.

(1) The first defense was not pressed with any vigor by counsel.
The petitioners were relatives and friends of the deportees. The
way the expulsion was conducted by the city officials made it
impossible for the women to sign a petition for habeas corpus. It
was consequently proper for the writ to be submitted by persons in
their behalf. Where it is impossible for a party to sign an
application for the writ of habeas corpus, it is proper for the writ to
be submitted by some person in his behalf.

(2) The fiscal next contended that the writ should have been asked
f or in the Court of First Instance of Davao or should have been
made returnable before that court.

It is a general rule of good practice that, to avoid unnecessary


expense and inconvenience, petitions for habeas corpus should be
presented to the nearest judge of the court of first instance. But this
is not a hard and fast rule. The writ of habeas corpus may be
granted by the Supreme Court or any judge thereof enforcible
anywhere in the Philippine Islands. Whether the writ shall be made
returnable before the Supreme Court or before an inferior court
rests in the discretion of the Supreme Court and is dependent on
the particular circumstances.

In this case, it was not shown that the Court of First Instance of
Davao was in session, or that the women had any means by which
to advance their plea before that court. On the other hand, it was
shown that the petitioners with their attorneys, and the two original
respondents with their attorney, were in Manila; it was shown that
the case involved parties situated in different parts of the Islands; it
was shown that the women might still be imprisoned or restrained
of their liberty; and it was shown that if the writ was to accomplish
its purpose, it must be taken cognizance of and decided
immediately by the appellate court. The failure of the superior
court to consider the application and then to grant the writ would
have amounted to a denial of the benefits of the writ.

(3) The last argument of the fiscal is more plausible and more
difficult to meet. When the writ was prayed for, says counsel, the
parties in whose behalf it was asked were under no restraint; the
women, it is claimed, were free in Davao, and the jurisdiction of
the mayor and the chief of police did not extend beyond the city
limits.

A prime specification of an application for a writ of habeas corpus


is restraint of liberty. The essential object and purpose of the writ
of habeas corpus is to inquire into all manner of involuntary
restraint as distinguished from voluntary, and to relieve a person
therefrom if such restraint is illegal. Any restraint which will
preclude freedom of action is sufficient. The forcible taking of
these women from Manila by officials of that city, who handed
them over to other parties, who deposited them in a distant
region, deprived these women of freedom of locomotion just as
effectively as if they had been imprisoned. Placed in Davao
without either money or personal belongings, they were
prevented from exercising the liberty of going when and where
they pleased. The restraint of liberty which began in Manila
continued until the aggrieved parties were returned to Manila
and released or until they freely and truly waived this right.

Cooley: “The place of confinement is, therefore, not important to


the relief, if the guilty party is within reach of process, so that by
the power of the court he can be compelled to release his grasp.
The difficulty of affording redress is not increased by the
confinement being beyond the limits of the state, except as greater
distance may affect it. The important question is, where is the
power of control exercised? And I am aware of no other remedy."

The true principle should be that if the respondent is within the


jurisdiction of the court and has it in his power to obey the
order of the court, and thus to undo the wrong that he has
inflicted, he should be compelled to do so.

We find, therefore, both on reason and authority, that no one of the


defenses offered by the respondents constituted a legitimate bar to
the granting of the writ of habeas corpus.

III. Mayor Lukban guilty of contempt of court.

There remains to be considered whether the respondents


complied with the two orders of the Supreme Court awarding
the writ of habeas corpus, ‘and if it be found that they did not,
whether the contempt should be punished or be taken as
purged. The first order, it will be recalled, directed Justo Lukban,
Anton Hohmann, Francisco Sales, and Feliciano Yñigo to present
the persons named in the writ bef ore the court on December
2,1918. The order was dated November 4, 1918. The respondents
were thus given ample time, practically one month, to comply with
the writ. As far as the record discloses, the Mayor of the city of
Manila waited until the 21st of November before sending a
telegram to the provincial governor of Davao. According to the
response of the attorney for the Bureau of Labor to the telegram of
his chief, there were then in Davao women who desired to return
to Manila, but who should not be permitted to do so because of
having contracted debts. The half-hearted effort naturally resulted
in none of the parties in question being brought bef ore the court
on the day named.

For respondents to fulfill the order of the court granting the


writ of habeas corpus, three courses were open:
(1) They could have produced the bodies of the persons
according to the command of the writ;
(2) they could have shown by affidavit that on account of
sickness or infirmity these ,persons could not safely be brought
before the Court; or
(3) they could have. presented affidavits to show that the
parties in question or their attorney waived the right to be
present.

They did not produce the bodies of the persons in whose behalf the
writ was granted; they did not show impossibility of performance;
and they did not present writings that waived the right to be
present by those interested. Instead a few stereotyped affidavits
purporting to show that the women were contented with their life
in Davao, some of which have since been repudiated by the
signers, were appended to the return. That through ordinary
diligence a considerable number of the women, at least sixty, could
have been brought back to Manila is demonstrated by the fact that
during this time they were easily to be found in the municipality of
Davao, and that about this number either returned at their own
expense or were produced at the second hearing by the
respondents.

The power to punish for contempt of court should be exercised on


the preservative and not on the vindictive principle. Only
occasionally should the court invoke its inherent power in order to
retain that respect without which the administration of justice must
falter or fail. Nevertheless when one is commanded to produce a
certain person and does not do so, and does not offer a valid
excuse, a court must, to vindicate its authority, adjudge the
respondent to be guilty of contempt, and must order him either
imprisoned or fined. An officer's failure to produce the body of a
person in obedience to a writ of habeas corpus when he has power
to do so, is a contempt committed in the face of the court. (Ex
parte Sterns [1888], 77 Cal., 156; In re Patterson [1888], 99 N. C.,
407.)

With all the facts and circumstances in mind, and with judicial
regard for human imperfections, we cannot say that any of the
respondents, with the possible exception of the first named, has
flatly disobeyed the court by acting in opposition to its authority,
Respondents Hohmann, Rodriguez, Ordax, and Joaquin only
followed the orders of their chiefs, and while, under the law of
public officers, this does not exonerate them entirely, it is
nevertheless a powerful mitigating circumstance. The hacendero
Yñigo appears to have been drawn into the case through a
misconstruction by counsel of telegraphic communications. The
city fiscal, Anacleto Diaz, would seem to have done no more than
to fulfill his duty as the legal representative of the city government.
Finding him innocent of any disrespect to the court, his counter-
motion to strike from the record the memorandum of attorney for
the petitioners, which brings him into this undesirable position,
must be granted. When all is said and done, as far as this record
discloses, the official who was primarily responsible for the
unlawful deportation, who ordered the police to accomplish the
same, who made arrangements for the steamers and the
constabulary, who conducted the negotiations with the Bureau of
Labor, and who later, as the head of the city government, had it
within his power to facilitate the return of the unfortunate women
to Manila, was Justo Lukban, the Mayor of the city of Manila. His
intention to suppress the social evil was commendable. His
methods were unlawful. His regard for the writ of habeas corpus
issued by the court was only tardily and reluctantly acknowledged.
It would be possible to turn to the provisions of section 546 of the
Code of Civil Procedure, which relates to the penalty for
disobeying the writ, and in pursuance thereof to require respondent
Lukban to forfeit to the parties aggrieved as much as P400 each,
which would reach to many thousands of pesos, and in addition to
deal with him as for a contempt.

In résumé·as before stated, no further action on the writ of habeas


corpus is necessary. The respondents Hohmann, Rodriguez, Ordax,
Joaquin, Yñigo, and Diaz are found not to be in contempt of court.
Respondent Lukban is found in contempt of court and shall pay
into the office of the clerk of the Supreme Court within five days
the sum of one hundred pesos (P100).

In concluding this tedious and disagreeable task, may we not be


permitted to express the hope that this decision may serve to
bulwark the f ortifications of an orderly government of laws and to
protect. individual liberty from illegal encroachment.

10. Talabon v. Prov. Warden, 78 Phil 599.

Facts:
The grounds of the petition for habeas corpus filed with the Court
of First Instance of Iloilo and with this Court are, that the
“petitioner was charged of (with) murder and was confined in
the concentration camp and in the provincial jail of Iloilo since
1942 up to the present time, and under the pretext of a fantastic
trial he was continually imprisoned and restrained of his liberty
without having promulgated the corresponding authority of any
decision against him;" and "the petitioner is deprived of his
absolute right of appeal and denied of prompt and speedy justice,"
because "he cannot prosecute any appeal to a higher tribunal of
justice;" for the reason that the judgment which convicted the
defendant to be imprisoned for not less than 12 years and 1 day to
not more than 20 years and 1 day of reclusión temporal, was
rendered verbally by the trial judge, without the court's
finding of facts.

According to the return of the respondent to the petition filed with


the Court of First Instance of Iloilo, as well as his answer or return
to the petition filed with this Court, the petitioner is in custody
under warrant of commitment issued by the Judge of the Court
of First Instance of Iloilo and signed by the clerk of said court.
Issue:
W/N a petition for habeas corpus is the proper remedy - No.

Held:
No.

According to section 13 of Rule 102: "If it appears that the


prisoner is in custody under a warrant of commitment in pursuance
of law, the return shall be considered prima facie evidence of the
cause of restraint;" and section 4 of the same rule provides:

"SEC. 4. When writ not allowed or discharge authorized.·If it


appears that the person alleged to be restrained of his liberty is in
the custody of an officer under process issued by a court or judge,
or by virtue of a judgment or order of a court of record, and that
the court or judge had jurisdiction to issue the process, render the
judgment, or make the order, the writ shall not be allowed; or if the
jurisdiction appears after the writ is allowed, the person shall not
be discharged by reason of any informality or defect in the process,
judgment, or order. * * *"

The above-quoted provision of section 4 of Rule 102, is in


conformity with the well-established rule that a petition for a writ
of habeas corpus to secure the discharge of one restrained of his
liberty by virtue of a judgment, is a collateral attack upon the said
judgment; and the writ lies only where the judgment attacked is
absolutely void, because the court that rendered it had no
jurisdiction; and it does not lie where it is merely voidable by
reason of errors, omissions, irregularities, or defects in the
judgment.

The sole question involved in this appeal, therefore, is whether


or not the court that convicted the petitioner had jurisdiction
of the person of the petitioner and of the offense, and to impose
the particular penalty above stated; for as above stated, it is
“well settled that where the court had jurisdiction of the
subject matter of the prosecution, and the punishment imposed
by the court is of the character prescribed by law for the
offense, habeas corpus will not lie for the release of the
prisoner because of mere errors, irregularities, and defects in
the sentence." (25 Am. Jur., pp. 184-185.) And “it has been held
that one who is imprisoned under a judgment may not procure his
discharge by aid of the writ upon the ground only that an error was
made by the clerk in recording the sentence; that the judgment
failed to state the particular offense of which he was convicted or
to adjudge expressly the defendant’s guilt; that the trial judge fixed
the prisoner's punishment within the limits prescribed by a statute
when the jury should have done so; that an order for the issuance
of an execution was omitted in a judgment imposing a fine; that
the verdict was received and sentence imposed by a judge other
than the one who presided at the trial; that two defendants who had
been tried under a joint indictment had been given a joint sentence;
or even that the wrong name was inserted in a sentence, at least if
the prisoner was sufficiently designated to preclude any mistake."

After considering the facts and law of the case, it is obvious that
the lower court did not err in denying the petitioner's petition,
because the lower court had jurisdiction over the petitioner,
the offense with which the latter was charged and of which he
was convicted, and to impose upon him the penalty above
stated. And for that reason, the petitioner does not question the
jurisdiction of the trial court. The principal ground alleged in
the petition is, that the petitioner is illegally detained for the
reason that the judgment rendered by said court is not in
writing and does not contain findings of f acts as the basis of
conviction, in violation of the provision of section 2, Rule 116, of
the Rules of Court which was enacted in conformity with the
provision of section 12, Article VIII of the Constitution.

The fact that the judgment of the Court of First Instance of


Iloilo was made verbally without prejudice to put it
subsequently in writing, and that no written decision with
findings of facts has been rendered up to the filing of the
petition, did not make that judgment absolutely void, because
failure on the part of the court to comply with section 2, Rule
116, of the Rules of Court and section 12 of Article VIII of the
Constitution, did not divest the lower court of its jurisdiction
acquired over the offense and the petitioner.

To hold otherwise would be to rule that a court that has jurisdiction


will preserve it if it does not commit any error or applies correctly
the law, and it will lose its jurisdiction if it does not act in
accordance with the law, which is obviously untenable.

The provision of section 12, Article VIII, of the Constitution that


"no decision shall be rendered by any court of record without
expressing therein clearly and distinctly the facts and the law on
which it is based," which had been incorporated substantially in
section 2, Rule 116 of the Rules of Court, refers only to the form
of the judgment. It does not affect the jurisdiction of the court
rendering it. The substance of the judgment is defined in section 1,
of said Rule 116, which says that it is "the adjudication by the
court that the defendant is guilty or is not guilty of the offense
charged, and the imposition of the penalty provided for by law on
the defendant. who pleads or is found guilty thereof."

It is evident that noncompliance with the above-quoted provision


of the Constitution by a court of competent jurisdiction, as
noncompliance with the provision of a statute relating to the
same matter, is an error or irregularity; but it is not
jurisdictional, nor does it make the judgment absolutely void
for lack of jurisdiction.

The judgment that convicted the petitioner- defendant, not


absolutely void because the court that rendered it had jurisdiction
over him, the offense and the particular penalty imposed therein, is
defective because it does not conform to the form required by the
law and the Constitution, and the proper remedy for the
petitioner is to
1. appeal from said judgment, or
2. petition for mandamus to compel the judge of the Court of
First Instance to put in writing the decision of the court in said
case.

The reason why Judge Ceferino de los Santos who presided the
court that convicted the petitioner could not render a written
decision containing findings of fact on which the judgment of
conviction is based, is given in the answer or return of the
respondent to the petition filed with the Court of First Instance of
Iloilo, and is not contradicted or denied by the petitioner:

"That this Court, presided by Honorable Manuel Blanco, on


August 12, 1946, issued an order requesting the said Judge De los
Santos, who is now presiding the Court of First Instance of Vigan,
Ilocos Sur, through the Honorable, the Secretary of Justice, to
render the corresponding sentence in the said criminal case No. 4;

"That in compliance with the said order of this Honorable Court


the Clerk of Court on August 15, 1946, sent by registered mail to
said Judge, Hon. Ceferino de los Santos, the said motion of
Attorney Davila;"

Not only the delay in the termination of the trial of the case and in
the rendition of the judgment was not unreasonable or without
justification·and the arguments advanced to support the contrary
are based on mere conjectures or baseless assumption of facts not
found in the record; but even assuming, arguendo, that there
was such a delay, it does not constitute a sufficient ground for
issuing a writ of habeas corpus and discharging the petitioner
herein.

Not the delay in putting the oral judgment in writing, because "the
constitutional right to a public and speedy trial does not extend to
the act of pronouncement of sentence"
And not the delay, if any, in the prosecution of the trial, because it
is obvious that, the case against the petitioner having already been
tried and judgment rendered against him, the petitioner can no
longer invoke his right to a speedy trial as a ground for his
discharge on habeas corpus, inasmuch as said right is waived if not
exercised in due time. If the trial of a criminal case is
unreasonably delayed, the detention of the defendant becomes
illegal, and habeas corpus is the only legal remedy for
obtaining his release, in order to avoid his detention for an
unreasonable period of time. After trial has terminated, the
delay of the Court to render the sentence does not make the
detention illegal, because the defendant may, by mandamus,
compel the court which unreasonably delays rendering the
decision to do so, and for that reason the defendant or prisoner
is not granted the constitutional right to a speedy judgment.

In view of all the foregoing, the decision of the Court of First


Instance of Iloilo denying the petitioner's petition for habeas
corpus is affirmed, with costs against the appellant.

Rules on Custody of Minors and Writ of Habeas Corpus in


relation to Custody of Minors (A.M. No. 03-04-04-SC)

1. Salientes, et al. vs. Abanilla, et al., G.R. No. 162734, 29


August 2006

Facts:
Private respondent Loran S.D. Abanilla and petitioner Marie
Antonette Abigail C. Salientes are the parents of the minor
Lorenzo Emmanuel S. Abanilla. They lived with Marie
AntonetteÊs parents, petitioners Orlando B. Salientes and Rosario
C. Salientes. Due to in-laws problems, private respondent
suggested to his wife that they transfer to their own house, but
Marie Antonette refused. So, he alone left the house of the
Salientes. Thereafter, he was prevented from seeing his son.

Later, Loran S.D. Abanilla in his personal capacity and as the


representative of his son, filed a Petition for Habeas Corpus and
Custody, docketed as Special Proceedings No. 03-004 before the
Regional Trial Court of Muntinlupa City.

On January 23, 2003, the trial court issued the following order:
„Upon verified Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus by
Petitioners, the Respondents Marie Antonette Abigail C.
Salientes, Orlando B. Salientes and Rosario C. Salientes are
hereby directed to produce and bring before this Court the
body of minor Lorenzo Emmanuel Salientes Abanilla on
January 31, 2003 at 1:00 oÊclock in the afternoon and to show
cause why the said child should not be discharged from
restraint. Let this Writ be served by the Sheriff or any authorized
representative of this Court, who is directed to immediately make a
return. SO ORDERED.‰
Petitioners moved for reconsideration which the court denied.
Consequently, petitioners filed a petition for certiorari with the
Court of Appeals, but the same was dismissed on November 10,
2003. The appellate court affirmed the February 24, 2003
Order of the trial court holding that its January 23, 2003
Order did not award the custody of the 2- year-old child to any
one but was simply the standard order issued for the
production of restrained persons. The appellate court held that
the trial court was still about to conduct a full inquiry, in a
summary proceeding, on the cause of the minorÊs detention
and the matter of his custody.

Hence this petition.

Arguments:
Petitioners contend that the order is contrary to Article 213 of the
Family Code, which provides that no child under seven years of
age shall be separated from the mother unless the court finds
compelling reasons to order otherwise. They maintain that herein
respondent Loran had the burden of showing any compelling
reason but failed to present even a prima facie proof thereof.
Petitioners posit that even assuming that there were compelling
reasons, the proper remedy for private respondent was simply an
action for custody, but not habeas corpus. Petitioners assert that
habeas corpus is unavailable against the mother who, under
the law, has the right of custody of the minor. They insist there
was no illegal or involuntary restraint of the minor by his own
mother. There was no need for the mother to show cause and
explain the custody of her very own child.
Private respondent counters that petitionersÊ argument based on
Article 213 of the Family Code applies only to the second part of
his petition regarding the custody of his son. It does not address
the first part, which pertains to his right as the father to see his son.
He asserts that the writ of habeas corpus is available against any
person who restrains the minorÊs right to see his father and vice
versa. He avers that the instant petition is merely filed for delay,
for had petitioners really intended to bring the child before the
court in accordance with the new rules on custody of minors,
they would have done so on the dates specified in the January 23,
2003 and the February 24, 2003 orders of the trial court. Private
respondent maintains that, under the law, he and petitioner Marie
Antonette have shared custody and parental authority over their
son. He alleges that at times when petitioner Marie Antonette is
out of the country as required of her job as an international flight
stewardess, he, the father, should have custody of their son and not
the maternal grandparents.

Issue:
W/N the CA erred in dismissing the petition for certiorari against
the RTC’s order commanding the wife to produce the body of the
child and show cause why the child should not be released form
her restraint - No.

Held:
No.

As correctly pointed out by the Court of Appeals, the assailed


January 23, 2003 Order of the trial court did not grant custody
of the minor to any of the parties but merely directed
petitioners to produce the minor in court and explain why they
are restraining his liberty. The assailed order was an
interlocutory order precedent to the trial courtÊs full inquiry
into the issue of custody, which was still pending before it.

Habeas corpus may be resorted to in cases where ​rightful


custody is withheld from a person entitled thereto. 10 Under
Article 211 of the Family Code, respondent Loran and petitioner
Marie Antonette have joint parental authority over their son and
consequently joint custody. Further, although the couple is
separated de facto, the issue of custody has yet to be adjudicated
by the court. In the absence of a judicial grant of custody to one
parent, both parents are still entitled to the custody of their
child. In the present case, private respondentÊs cause of action is
the deprivation of his right to see his child as alleged in his
petition. Hence, the remedy of habeas corpus is available to
him.

In a petition for habeas corpus, the childÊs welfare is the supreme


consideration. The Child and Youth Welfare Code unequivocally
provides that in all questions regarding the care and custody,
among others, of the child, his welfare shall be the paramount
consideration.

It bears stressing that the order did not grant custody of the
minor to any of the parties but merely directed petitioners to
produce the minor in court and explain why private
respondent is prevented from seeing his child. This is in line
with the directive in Section 9 of A.M. 03-04-04-SC that within
fifteen days after the filing of the answer or the expiration of
the period to file answer, the court shall issue an order
requiring the respondent (herein petitioners) to present the
minor before the court. This was exactly what the court did.

Moreover, Article 213 of the Family Code deals with the


judicial adjudication of custody and serves as a guideline for
the proper award of custody by the court. Petitioners can raise
it as a counter argument for private respondentÊs petition for
custody. But it is not a basis for preventing the father to see his
own child. Nothing in the said provision disallows a father
from seeing or visiting his child under seven years of age. In
sum, the trial court did not err in issuing the orders dated January
23, 2003 and February 24, 2003. Hence, the Court of Appeals
properly dismissed the petition for certiorari against the said orders
of the trial court.

WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The Decision dated


November 10, 2003 and the Resolution dated March 19, 2004 of
the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 75680 are AFFIRMED.
Costs against petitioners. SO ORDERED.

2. Bagtas vs. Hon. Santos, et al., G.R. No. 166682, 27


November 2009

Facts:
Antonio and Rosita S. Gallardo (Spouses Gallardo) are the
parents of Maricel S. Gallardo (Maricel). Two weeks after
graduating from high school in April 2000, Maricel ran away to
live with her boyfriend. Maricel became pregnant and gave birth to
Maryl Joy S. Gallardo (Maryl Joy). MaricelÊs boyfriend left her.
In February 2002, Maricel returned to her parents. On the same
day, Maricel ran away again and lived with Noel B. Bagtas
(Bagtas) and Lydia B. Sioson (Sioson) at Ma. Corazon, Unirock,
Barangay Sta. Cruz, Antipolo City. Maricel went to Negros
Occidental and left Maryl Joy in the custody of Bagtas and Sioson.
In a letter5 dated 5 February 2001, Maricel relinquished her rights
over Maryl Joy to Bagtas and his wife. She stated:

„Ako po si Maricel S. Gallardo 18 taong gulang ay kusang


ipinagkaloob ang aking anak sa pagkadalaga sa mag-asawang
Noel B. Bagtas at Neneth A. Bagtas sa kadahilanan pong itinakwil
ako ng sarili kong mga magulang at hindi ko po kayang buhayin at
dahil po sa tinakbuhan ako ng aking boyfriend kaya wala na pong
ibang paraan para ako makabangon o makapagsimula ng
panibagong buhay kaya para mabigyan ng magandang buhay ang
aking anak inisip ko po na ito na ang pinaka madaling paraan
para po sa pagbabago ng aking buhay. Kaya mula sa araw na ito
ay wala na akong karapatan sa aking anak. Sila ang tatayo bilang
magulang ng aking anak.‰

In April 2002, the Spouses Gallardo tried to obtain the custody of


Maryl Joy from Bagtas and Sioson. Bagtas and Sioson refused.
Unable to settle the matter, the Spouses Gallardo filed with the
RTC a petition6 for habeas corpus.
the RTC issued a writ of habeas8 corpus directing the deputy
sheriff to produce Maryl Joy before it and to summon Bagtas and
Sioson to explain why they were withholding the custody of Maryl
Joy. The Spouses Gallardo, Bagtas and Sioson entered into a
compromise agreement. The RTC adopted the agreement and
ordered that:

1. the child will be placed in the custody of petitioners on Fri-Sat


2. the child should be returned to respondents on Sunday, subject
to visitorial rights
3. the child can be brought by respondents to Valenzuela but
should be returned to petitioners Friday morning

On 29 September 2002, Bagtas and Sioson learned that Rosita


S. Gallardo brought Maryl Joy to Samar. In their motion10
dated 30 September 2002, Bagtas and Sioson prayed that the
Spouses Gallardo be directed to produce Maryl Joy before the
RTC, that they be directed to explain why they violated the RTCÊs
13 September 2002 Order, and that they be cited in contempt.

In their motion11 to dismiss dated 11 October 2002, Bagtas and


Sioson prayed that the Spouses GallardoÊs action be dismissed
pursuant to Section 3, Rule 17, of the Rules of Court. Section 3
states that „If, for no justifiable cause, the plaintiff fails x x x to
comply with x x x any order of the court, the complaint may be
dismissed upon motion of the defendant or upon the courtÊs own
motion.‰

Bagtas and Sioson claimed that the Spouses Gallardo failed to


comply with the RTCÊs 13 September 2002 Order.

In its Order12 dated 15 October 2002, the RTC cited the Spouses
Gallardo in contempt, fined them P500, and ordered them to
produce Maryl Joy before the trial court.

RTC dismissed the action for having become moot. It held that
since the person subject of the petition has already been
produced to this court and has been turned over to the
petitioners, the issue on the petition for habeas corpus is now
moot and academic without prejudice to the filing of the
proper action to determine as to the rightful custody over the
minor child. In view thereof, x x x the Motion to Dismiss is
hereby granted but without prejudice on the petitioners to file
proper action for custody of the minor.

In their motion14 for reconsideration dated 27 December 2002,


Bagtas and Sioson alleged that the ground for the dismissal of
the action was erroneous. The action should have been dismissed
pursuant to Section 3, Rule 17, of the Rules of Court. They prayed
that Maryl Joy be returned to them to preserve the status quo ante.
They prayed the order be reconsidered so that the dismissal of the
case will not be based on the ground of being moot and academic
but based on failure to comply with the September 13, 2002
pursuant [sic] to Section 3, Rule 17 of the 1997 Rules of Civil
Procedure and that petitioners be consequently directed to return
the person subject of the petition to the respondents to preserve the
status quo ante.‰
RTC denied the MR holding that "The allegations in the Petition
show that the sole purpose for the filing of the Petition is to
cause the production before the Court of the person of minor
Meryl [sic] Joy S. Gallardo, not a determination of the legality
or illegality of respondent’s custody of the child… Since
therefore, the purpose of the instant Petition has already been
served, as the child has been produced and delivered to the
petitioners, the instant Petition logically has become moot and
academic. Petitioners are, under the law (Art. 214, Family
Code), authorized to exercise substitute parental authority
over the child in case of death, absence or unsuitability of the
parents, the entitlement to the legal custody of the child being
necessarily included therein to make possible and/or enable the
petitioners to discharge their duties as substitute parents.

CA affirmed.

Issue:
W/N the petition for habeas corpus became moot upon the
production of the child - No.

Held:
No.

Section 1, Rule 102, of the Rules of Court states that the writ of
habeas corpus shall extend to all cases where the rightful custody
of any person is withheld from the persons entitled thereto. In
cases involving minors, the purpose of a petition for habeas
corpus is not limited to the production of the child before the
court. The main purpose of the petition for habeas corpus is to
determine who has the rightful custody over the child.

The writ of habeas corpus extends to all cases of illegal


confinement or detention by which any person is deprived of his
liberty, or by which the rightful custody of any person is withheld
from the person entitled thereto. Thus, it is the proper legal remedy
to enable parents to regain the custody of a minor child even if the
latter be in the custody of a third person of his own free will. It
may even be said that in custody cases involving minors, the
question of illegal and involuntary restraint of liberty is not the
underlying rationale for the availability of the writ as a
remedy. Rather, it is prosecuted for the purpose of determining
the right of custody over a child.‰

The RTC erred when it hastily dismissed the action for having
become moot after Maryl Joy was produced before the trial court.
It should have conducted a trial to determine who had the rightful
custody over Maryl Joy. In dismissing the action, the RTC, in
effect, granted the petition for habeas corpus and awarded the
custody of Maryl Joy to the Spouses Gallardo without sufficient
basis.

In Laxamana v. Laxamana, SC held that: “Mindful of the nature


of the case at bar, the court a quo should have conducted a
trial notwithstanding the agreement of the parties to submit the
case for resolution on the basis, inter alia, of the psychiatric report
of Dr. Teresito. Thus, petitioner is not estopped from
questioning the absence of a trial considering that said
psychiatric report, which was the courtÊs primary basis in
awarding custody to respondent, is insufficient to justify the
decision. The fundamental policy of the State to promote and
protect the welfare of children shall not be disregarded by mere
technicality in resolving disputes which involve the family and the
youth.

In determining who has the rightful custody over a child, the


childÊs welfare is the most important consideration. The court
is not bound by any legal right of a person over the child. The
court is not bound to deliver a child into the custody of any
claimant or of any person, but should, in the consideration of
the facts, leave it in such custody as its welfare at the time
appears to require. In short, the childÊs welfare is the supreme
consideration.

In Sombong, 252 SCRA 663 (1996), the Court laid down three
requisites in petitions for habeas corpus involving minors:
(1) the petitioner has a right of custody over the minor,
(2) the respondent is withholding the rightful custody over the
minor, and
(3) the best interest of the minor demands that he or she be in the
custody of the petitioner.

In the present case, these requisites are not clearly established


because the RTC hastily dismissed the action and awarded the
custody of Maryl Joy to the Spouses Gallardo without conducting
any trial.
The proceedings before the RTC leave so much to be desired.
While a remand of the case would mean further delay, Maryl
JoyÊs best interest demands that proper proceedings be conducted
to determine the fitness of the Spouses Gallardo to take care of her.

WHEREFORE, the Court REMANDS the case to the Regional


Trial Court, Judicial Region 4, Branch 72, Antipolo City, for the
purpose of receiving evidence to determine the fitness of the
Spouses Antonio and Rosita S. Gallardo to have custody of Maryl
Joy Gallardo. SO ORDERED.

Rules of Court Rule 41, Sec. 3

Sec. 3 - Period of ordinary appeal


The appeal shall be taken within 15 days from notice of the
judgment or final order appealed from. Where a record on appeal
is required, the appellants shall file a notice of appeal and a record
on appeal within 30 days from notice of the judgment or final
order.

However, an appeal in habeas corpus cases shall be taken within


48 hours from notice of the judgment or final order appealed form.

The period of appeal shall be interrupted by a timely motion for


new trial or reconsideration. No motion for extension of time to
file a motion for new trial or reconsideration shall be allowed.
Writ of Amparo

Cases:

1. Sec. of National Defense v. Manalo, G.R. No. 180906,


October 7, 2008, 568 SCRA 1.

Facts:
Respondent Raymond Manalo and his brother Reynaldo were
abducted by members of the Citizens Armed Forces Geographical
Unti (CAFGU) under the command of General Palparan, Hilario
and other AFP officers. They were suspected of being NPA
members or sympathisers. Raymond was suspected of being Ka
Bestre, who turned out to be Rolando, the brother of respondents.
They were detained in various military camps for 18 months.
Throughout this time, they were continuously beaten, abused,
chained. They met other abductees. They also witnessed the killing
by the soldiers of suspected NPA members and the latter’s family
members. Eventually they were able to escape.

While they were detained, a Petition for Habeas Corpus was filed
in their behalf by their parents.

Respondents filed a Petition for Prohibition, Injunction, and TRO


with the SC. When the Rule on the Writ of Ampaio took effect on
October 24, 2007, respondents filed a motion to treat the existing
petition as an amparo Petition, pursuant to 26 of the Amparo Rule.
SC granted.
Petitioners dispute respondentsÊ account of their alleged abduction
and torture. In compliance with the October 25, 2007 Resolution of
the Court, they filed a Return of the Writ of Amparo admitting
the abduction but denying any involvement therein. They argue
that this is a settled issue laid to rest in the habeas corpus case
where Gen. Esperon and Gen. Palparan were dropped as
respondents by the CA upon a finding that no evidence was
introduced to establish their personal involvement in the taking of
the Manalo brothers. The CA in the habeas corpus case also
exonerated M/Sgt. Rizal Hilario aka Rollie Castillo for lack of
evidence establishing his involvement in any capacity in the
disappearance of the Manalo brothers, although it held that the
remaining respondents were illegally detaining the Manalo
brothers and ordered them to release the latter.

Attached to the Return of the Writ was the affidavit of therein


respondent (herein petitioner) Secretary of National Defense,
which attested that he assumed office only on August 8, 2007 and
was thus unaware of the Manalo brothersÊ alleged abduction. He
claims that he has already directed the Chief of Staff, AFP to
investigate on the matter.

Therein respondent AFP Chief of Staff also submitted his own


affidavit, attached to the Return of the Writ, attesting that he
received the above directive of therein respondent Secretary of
National Defense and that acting on this directive, he ordered the
commencement of the investigation.
Also attached to the Return of the Writ was the affidavit of Lt. Col.
Felipe Anontado, INF (GSC) PA, earlier filed in G.R. No. 179994,
another amparo case in this Court, involving Cadapan, Empeño
and Merino, which averred among others, that, upon investigation,
there were no detainees in the military camps indicated in
respondent’s petition.

It was explained in the Return of the Writ that for lack of sufficient
time, the affidavits of Maj. Gen Jovito S. Palparan (Ret.), M/Sgt.
Rizal Hilario aka Rollie Castillo, and other persons implicated by
therein petitioners could not be secured in time for the submission
of the Return and would be subsequently submitted.

Herein petitioners presented a lone witness in the summary


hearings, Lt. Col. Ruben U. Jimenez, Provost Marshall, 7th
Infantry Division, Philippine Army, based in Fort Magsaysay,
Palayan City, Nueva Ecija. The territorial jurisdiction of this
Division covers Nueva Ecija, Aurora, Bataan, Bulacan, Pampanga,
Tarlac and a portion of Pangasinan.53 The 24th Infantry Battalion
is part of the 7th Infantry Division.

On May 26, 2006, Lt. Col. Jimenez was directed by the


Commanding General of the 7th Infantry Division, Maj. Gen.
Jovito Palparan,55 through his Assistant Chief of Staff,56 to
investigate the alleged abduction of the respondents by CAFGU
auxiliaries under his unit, namely: CAA Michael de la Cruz; CAA
Roman de la Cruz, aka Puti; CAA Maximo de la Cruz, aka Pula;
CAA Randy Mendoza; ex-CAA Marcelo de la Cruz aka Madning;
and a civilian named Rudy Mendoza. He was directed to
determine: (1) the veracity of the abduction of Raymond and
Reynaldo Manalo by the alleged elements of the CAFGU
auxiliaries; and (2) the administrative liability of said auxiliaries, if
any.57 Jimenez testified that this particular investigation was
initiated not by a complaint as was the usual procedure, but
because the Commanding General saw news about the abduction
of the Manalo brothers on the television, and he was concerned
about what was happening within his territorial jurisdiction.

Jimenez summoned all six implicated persons for the purpose of


having them execute sworn statements and conducting an
investigation on May 29, 2006.59 The investigation started at 8:00
in the morning and finished at 10:00 in the evening.60 The
investigating officer, Technical Sgt. Eduardo Lingad, took the
individual sworn statements of all six persons on that day. There
were no other sworn statements taken, not even of the Manalo
family, nor were there other witnesses summoned and
investigated61 as according to Jimenez, the directive to him was
only to investigate the six persons. Basically, all the 6 implicated
persons denied taking part in the abduction and detention. Jimenez
recommended in his report that the 6 implicated persons be
exonerated from the case.

CA rendered a decision granting the writ of Amparo:


The respondents SECRETARY OF NATIONAL DEFENSE and
AFP CHIEF OF STAFF are hereby REQUIRED:
1. To furnish to the petitioners and to this Court within five days
from notice of this decision all official and unofficial reports of the
investigation undertaken in connection with their case, except
those already on file herein;
2. To confirm in writing the present places of official assignment
of M/Sgt Hilario aka Rollie Castillo and Donald Caigas within five
days from notice of this decision.
3. To cause to be produced to this Court all medical reports,
records and charts, reports of any treatment given or recommended
and medicines prescribed, if any, to the petitioners, to include a list
of medical and (sic) personnel (military and civilian) who attended
to them from February 14, 2006 until August 12, 2007 within five
days from notice of this decision.

The compliance with this decision shall be made under the


signature and oath of respondent AFP Chief of Staff or his duly
authorized deputy, the latterÊs authority to be express and made
apparent on the face of the sworn compliance with this directive.
SO ORDERED.

Hence this appeal by petitioners questioning the CA’s assessment


of the foregoing evidence.

Issue:
W/N CA erred in granting the writ of Amparo - No, it did not err.

Held:
No, it did not err.

I. History, purpose, and scope of Writ of Amparo

The case at bar is the first decision on the application of the Rule
on the Writ of Amparo (Amparo Rule). Let us hearken to its
beginning.

On October 24, 2007, the Court promulgated the Amparo Rule „in
light of the prevalence of extralegal killing and enforced
disappearances. ‰ It was an exercise for the first time of the
CourtÊs expanded power to promulgate rules to protect our
peopleÊs constitutional rights, which made its maiden appearance
in the 1987 Constitution in response to the Filipino experience of
the martial law regime. As the Amparo Rule was intended to
address the intractable problem of „extralegal killings ‰ and
„enforced disappearances,‰ its coverage, in its present form,
is confined to these two instances or to threats thereof.

“Extralegal killings” are killings committed without due


process of law, i.e., without legal safeguards or judicial
proceedings.

On the other hand, “enforced disappearances” are „attended by


the following characteristics: an arrest, detention or abduction
of a person by a government official or organized groups or
private individuals acting with the direct or indirect
acquiescence of the government; the refusal of the State to
disclose the fate or whereabouts of the person concerned or a
refusal to acknowledge the deprivation of liberty which places
such persons outside the protection of law.

The writ of Amparo originated in Mexico. „Amparo ‰ literally


means „protection ‰ in Spanish. In 1837, de TocquevilleÊs
Democracy in America became available in Mexico and stirred
great interest. Its description of the practice of judicial review in
the U.S. appealed to many Mexican jurists. One of them, Manuel
Crescencio Rejón, drafted a constitutional provision for his native
state, Yucatan, which granted judges the power to protect all
persons in the enjoyment of their constitutional and legal rights.
This idea was incorporated into the national constitution in 1847,
viz.: The federal courts shall protect any inhabitant of the Republic
in the exercise and preservation of those rights granted to him by
this Constitution and by laws enacted pursuant hereto, against
attacks by the Legislative and Executive powers of the federal or
state governments, limiting themselves to granting protection in
the specific case in litigation, making no general declaration
concerning the statute or regulation that motivated the violation.

The writ of amparo then spread throughout the Western


Hemisphere, gradually evolving into various forms, in response to
the particular needs of each country. It became, in the words of a
justice of the Mexican Federal Supreme Court, one piece of
MexicoÊs self-attributed „task of conveying to the worldÊs legal
heritage that institution which, as a shield of human dignity, her
own painful history conceived. ‰ What began as a protection
against acts or omissions of public authorities in violation of
constitutional rights later evolved for several purposes:
(1) amparo libertad for the protection of personal freedom,
equivalent to the habeas corpus writ;
(2) amparo contra leyes for the judicial review of the
constitutionality of statutes;
(3) amparo casacion for the judicial review of the constitutionality
and legality of a judicial decision;
(4) amparo administrativo for the judicial review of administrative
actions; and
(5) amparo agrario for the protection of peasantsÊ rights derived
from the agrarian reform process.

In Latin American countries, except Cuba, the writ of Amparo has


been constitutionally adopted to protect against human rights
abuses especially committed in countries under military juntas. In
general, these countries adopted an all-encompassing writ to
protect the whole gamut of constitutional rights, including socio-
economic rights. Other countries like Colombia, Chile, Germany
and Spain, however, have chosen to limit the protection of the writ
of amparo only to some constitutional guarantees or fundamental
rights.

In the Philippines, while the 1987 Constitution does not explicitly


provide for the writ of amparo, several of the above amparo
protections are guaranteed by our charter. The second paragraph of
Article VIII, Section 1 of the 1987 Constitution, the Grave Abuse
Clause, provides for the judicial power „to determine whether or
not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or
excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality
of the Government. ‰ The Clause accords a similar general
protection to human rights extended by the amparo contra leyes,
amparo casacion, and amparo administrativo. Amparo libertad is
comparable to the remedy of habeas corpus found in several
provisions of the 1987 Constitution.
While constitutional rights can be protected under the Grave
Abuse Clause through remedies of injunction or prohibition under
Rule 65 of the Rules of Court and a petition for habeas corpus
under Rule 102, these remedies may not be adequate to address the
pestering problem of extralegal killings and enforced
disappearances. However, with the swiftness required to resolve a
petition for a writ of Amparo through summary proceedings and
the availability of appropriate interim and permanent reliefs under
the Amparo Rule, this hybrid writ of the common law and civil
law traditions·borne out of the Latin American and Philippine
experience of human rights abuses ·offers a better remedy to
extralegal killings and enforced disappearances and threats thereof.
The remedy provides rapid judicial relief as it partakes of a
summary proceeding that requires only substantial evidence to
make the appropriate reliefs available to the petitioner; it is not an
action to determine criminal guilt requiring proof beyond
reasonable doubt, or liability for damages requiring preponderance
of evidence, or administrative responsibility requiring substantial
evidence that will require full and exhaustive proceedings.

The writ of Amparo serves both preventive and curative roles in


addressing the problem of extralegal killings and enforced
disappearances. It is preventive in that it breaks the expectation of
impunity in the commission of these offenses; it is curative in that
it facilitates the subsequent punishment of perpetrators as it will
inevitably yield leads to subsequent investigation and action. In the
long run, the goal of both the preventive and curative roles is to
deter the further commission of extralegal killings and enforced
disappearances.
With this backdrop, we now come to the arguments of the
petitioner.

II. CA did not err in finding credibility in the testimony of


Raymond and the affidavit of Reynaldo.

1. PetitionersÊ first argument in disputing the Decision of the CA:


The Court of Appeals seriously and grievously erred in believing
and giving full faith and credit to the incredible uncorroborated,
contradicted, and obviously scripted, rehearsed and self-serving
affidavit/testimony of herein respondent Raymond Manalo.

In delving into the veracity of the evidence, we need to mine and


refine the ore of petitionersÊ cause of action, to determine whether
the evidence presented is metal-strong to satisfy the degree of
proof required.

Section 1 of the Rule on the Writ of Amparo provides for the


following causes of action, viz.:

Section 1. Petition. — The petition for a writ of amparo is a


remedy available to any person whose right to life, liberty and
security is violated or threatened with violation by an unlawful
act or omission of a public official or employee, or of a private
individual or entity. The writ shall cover extralegal killings and
enforced disappearances or threats thereof. (emphasis supplied)

Sections 17 and 18, on the other hand, provide for the degree of
proof required, viz.: „

Sec. 17. Burden of Proof and Standard of Diligence Required. —


The parties shall establish their claims by substantial evidence. x
xxxxxxx

Sec. 18. Judgment.·. . . If the allegations in the petition are


proven by substantial evidence, the court shall grant the
privilege of the writ and such reliefs as may be proper and
appropriate; otherwise, the privilege shall be denied. ‰
(emphases supplied)

Substantial evidence has been defined as such relevant evidence as


a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a
conclusion.9

After careful perusal of the evidence presented, we affirm the


findings of the Court of Appeals that respondents were abducted
from their houses in Sito Muzon, Brgy. Buhol na Mangga, San
Ildefonso, Bulacan on February 14, 2006 and were continuously
detained until they escaped on August 13, 2007.

The abduction, detention, torture, and escape of the respondents


were narrated by respondent Raymond Manalo in a clear and
convincing manner. His account is dotted with countless candid
details of respondentsÊ harrowing experience and tenacious will to
escape, captured through his different senses and etched in his
memory. A few examples are the following: „Sumilip ako sa isang
haligi ng kamalig at nakita kong sinisilaban si Manuel. ‰ 96
„(N)ilakasan ng mga sundalo ang tunog na galing sa istiryo ng
sasakyan. Di nagtagal, narinig ko ang hiyaw o ungol ni Manuel.
‰97 „May naiwang mga bakas ng dugo habang hinihila nila ang
mga bangkay. Naamoy ko iyon nang nililinis ang bakas. ‰ 98
„Tumigil ako sa may palaisdaan kung saan ginamit ko ang bato
para tanggalin ang mga kadena.‰99 „Tinanong ko sa isang kapit-
bahay kung paano ako makakakuha ng cell phone; sabi ko gusto
kong i-text ang isang babae na nakatira sa malapit na lugar.‰100

We affirm the factual findings of the appellate court, largely based


on respondent Raymond ManaloÊs affidavit and testimony.

We reject the claim of petitioners that respondent Raymond


ManaloÊs statements were not corroborated by other independent
and credible pieces of evidence.102 RaymondÊs affidavit and
testimony were corroborated by the affidavit of respondent
Reynaldo Manalo. The testimony and medical reports prepared by
forensic specialist Dr. Molino, and the pictures of the scars left by
the physical injuries inflicted on respondents,103 also corroborate
respondentsÊ accounts of the torture they endured while in
detention. Respondent Raymond ManaloÊs familiarity with the
facilities in Fort Magsaysay such as the „DTU,‰ as shown in his
testimony and confirmed by Lt. Col. Jimenez to be the „Division
Training Unit, ‰ 104 firms up respondentsÊ story that they were
detained for some time in said military facility.

In Ortiz v. Guatemala, Case 10.526, Report No. 31/96, Inter-


Am.C.H.R.,OEA/Ser.L/V/II.95 Doc. 7 rev. at 332 (1997), a case
decided by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, the
Commission considered similar evidence, among others, in finding
that complainant Sister Diana Ortiz was abducted and tortured by
agents of the Guatemalan government. In this case, Sister Ortiz
was kidnapped and tortured in early November 1989. The
CommissionÊs findings of fact were mostly based on the
consistent and credible statements, written and oral, made by Sister
Ortiz regarding her ordeal. These statements were supported by her
recognition of portions of the route they took when she was being
driven out of the military installation where she was detained. She
was also examined by a medical doctor whose findings showed
that the 111 circular second degree burns on her back and
abrasions on her cheek coincided with her account of cigarette
burning and torture she suffered while in detention.

With the secret nature of an enforced disappearance and the


torture perpetrated on the victim during detention, it logically
holds that much of the information and evidence of the ordeal
will come from the victims themselves, and the veracity of their
account will depend on their credibility and candidness in their
written and/or oral statements. Their statements can be
corroborated by other evidence such as physical evidence left
by the torture they suffered or landmarks they can identify in
the places where they were detained. Where powerful military
officers are implicated, the hesitation of witnesses to surface
and testify against them comes as no surprise.

III. The Respondents are entitled to Amparo. RespondentsÊ


right to security as „freedom from threat‰ is violated by the
apparent threat to their life, liberty and security of person.
Their right to security as a guarantee of protection by the
government is likewise violated by the ineffective investigation
and protection on the part of the military.

We now come to the right of the respondents to the privilege of the


writ of amparo. There is no quarrel that the enforced disappearance
of both respondents Raymond and Reynaldo Manalo has now
passed as they have escaped from captivity and surfaced. But
while respondents admit that they are no longer in detention
and are physically free, they assert that they are not „free in
every sense of the word‰109 as their „movements continue to
be restricted for fear that people they have named in their
Judicial Affidavits and testified against (in the case of
Raymond) are still at large and have not been held accountable
in any way. These people are directly connected to the Armed
Forces of the Philippines and are, thus, in a position to
threaten respondentsÊ rights to life, liberty and security.‰110
(emphasis supplied)

Respondents claim that they are under threat of being once


again abducted, kept captive or even killed, which constitute a
direct violation of their right to security of person.1

Elaborating on the „right to security, in general, ‰ respondents


point out that this right is „often associated with liberty‰; it is also
seen as an „expansion of rights based on the prohibition against
torture and cruel and unusual punishment.‰ Conceding that there
is no right to security expressly mentioned in Article III of the
1987 Constitution, they submit that their rights „to be kept free
from torture and from incommunicado detention and solitary
detention places fall under the general coverage of the right to
security of person under the writ of Amparo. ‰ They submit
that the Court ought to give an expansive recognition of the right
to security of person in view of the State Policy under Article II of
the 1987 Constitution which enunciates that, „The State values the
dignity of every human person and guarantees full respect for
human rights. ‰ Finally, to justify a liberal interpretation of the
right to security of person, respondents cite the teaching in
Moncupa v. Enrile113 that „the right to liberty may be made
more meaningful only if there is no undue restraint by the
State on the exercise of that liberty‰114 such as a requirement
to „report under unreasonable restrictions that amounted to a
deprivation of liberty ‰ 115 or being put under „monitoring
and surveillance.‰

In sum, respondents assert that their cause of action consists in the


threat to their right to life and liberty, and a violation of their right
to security.

Let us put this right to security under the lens to determine if it has
indeed been violated as respondents assert. The right to security or
the right to security of person finds a textual hook in Article III,
Section 2 of the 1987 Constitution which provides, viz.: Sec. 2.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers
and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures of whatever
nature and for any purpose shall be inviolable, and no search
warrant or warrant of arrest shall issue except upon probable cause
to be determined personally by the judge. . .
At the core of this guarantee is the immunity of oneÊs person,
including the extensions of his/her person·houses, papers, and
effects·against government intrusion. Section 2 not only limits the
stateÊs power over a personÊs home and possessions, but more
importantly, protects the privacy and sanctity of the person
himself.

The purpose of the constitutional guarantee against unreasonable


searches and seizures is to prevent violations of private security in
person and property and unlawful invasion of the security of the
home by officers of the law acting under legislative or judicial
sanction and to give remedy against such usurpation when
attempted. (Adams v. New York, 192 U.S. 858; Alvero v. Dizon,
76 Phil. 637 [1946]). The right to privacy is an essential condition
to the dignity and happiness and to the peace and security of every
individual, whether it be of home or of persons and
correspondence. (Tañada and Carreon, Political Law of the
Philippines, Vol. 2, 139 [1962]). The constitutional inviolability of
this great fundamental right against unreasonable searches and
seizures must be deemed absolute as nothing is closer to a manÊs
soul than the serenity of his privacy and the assurance of his
personal security. Any interference allowable can only be for the
best causes and reasons.

While the right to life under Article III, Section 1 guarantees


essentially the right to be alive·upon which the enjoyment of all
other rights is preconditioned·the right to security of person is a
guarantee of the secure quality of this life, viz.: „The life to which
each person has a right is not a life lived in fear that his person and
property may be unreasonably violated by a powerful ruler. Rather,
it is a life lived with the assurance that the government he
established and consented to, will protect the security of his person
and property. The ideal of security in life and property. . . pervades
the whole history of man. It touches every aspect of manÊs
existence. ‰ In a broad sense, the right to security of person
„emanates in a personÊs legal and uninterrupted enjoyment of his
life, his limbs, his body, his health, and his reputation. It includes
the right to exist, and the right to enjoyment of life while
existing, and it is invaded not only by a deprivation of life but
also of those things which are necessary to the enjoyment of
life according to the nature, temperament, and lawful desires
of the individual.

A closer look at the right to security of person would yield various


permutations of the exercise of this right.

First, the right to security of person is „freedom from fear.‰


In its „whereas ‰ clauses, the Universal Declaration of Human
Rights (UDHR) enunciates that „a world in which human beings
shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear
and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the
common people. ‰ (emphasis supplied) Some scholars postulate
that „freedom from fear‰ is not only an aspirational principle, but
essentially an individual international human right. It is the „right
to security of person ‰ as the word „security ‰ itself means
„freedom from fear. ‰ Article 3 of the UDHR provides, viz.:
Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.
(emphasis supplied) In furtherance of this right declared in the
UDHR, Article 9(1) of the International Covenant on Civil and
Political Rights (ICCPR) also provides for the right to security of
person.

The Philippines is a signatory to both the UDHR and the ICCPR.

In the context of Section 1 of the Amparo Rule, „freedom from


fear ‰ is the right and any threat to the rights to life, liberty or
security is the actionable wrong. Fear is a state of mind, a reaction;
threat is a stimulus, a cause of action. Fear caused by the same
stimulus can range from being baseless to well-founded as people
react differently. The degree of fear can vary from one person to
another with the variation of the prolificacy of their imagination,
strength of character or past experience with the stimulus. Thus, in
the Amparo context, it is more correct to say that the „right to
security ‰ is actually the „freedom from threat. ‰ Viewed in
this light, the „threatened with violation‰ Clause in the latter
part of Section 1 of the Amparo Rule is a form of violation of
the right to security mentioned in the earlier part of the
provision.

Second, the right to security of person is a guarantee of bodily


and psychological integrity or security. Article III, Section II of
the 1987 Constitution guarantees that, as a general rule, oneÊs
body cannot be searched or invaded without a search warrant.
Physical injuries inflicted in the context of extralegal killings and
enforced disappearances constitute more than a search or invasion
of the body. It may constitute dismemberment, physical
disabilities, and painful physical intrusion. As the degree of
physical injury increases, the danger to life itself escalates.
Notably, in criminal law, physical injuries constitute a crime
against persons because they are an affront to the bodily integrity
or security of a person.

Third, the right to security of person is a guarantee of


protection of oneÊs rights by the government. In the context of
the writ of Amparo, this right is built into the guarantees of the
right to life and liberty under Article III, Section 1 of the 1987
Constitution and the right to security of person (as freedom from
threat and guarantee of bodily and psychological integrity) under
Article III, Section 2. The right to security of person in this third
sense is a corollary of the policy that the State „guarantees full
respect for human rights‰ under Article II, Section 11 of the 1987
Constitution. As the government is the chief guarantor of order and
security, the Constitutional guarantee of the rights to life, liberty
and security of person is rendered ineffective if government does
not afford protection to these rights especially when they are under
threat. Protection includes conducting effective investigations,
organization of the government apparatus to extend protection
to victims of extralegal killings or enforced disappearances (or
threats thereof) and/or their families, and bringing offenders to
the bar of justice.

This third sense of the right to security of person as a guarantee of


government protection has been interpreted by the United
NationsÊ Human Rights Committee in not a few cases involving
Article 9 of the ICCPR. While the right to security of person
appears in conjunction with the right to liberty under Article 9, the
Committee has ruled that the right to security of person can exist
independently of the right to liberty. In other words, there
need not necessarily be a deprivation of liberty for the right to
security of person to be invoked.

Applying the foregoing concept of the right to security of person to


the case at bar, we now determine whether there is a continuing
violation of respondentsÊ right to security.

First, the violation of the right to security as freedom from


threat to respondentsÊ life, liberty and security. While
respondents were detained, they were threatened that if they
escaped, their families, including them, would be killed. In
RaymondÊs narration, he was tortured and poured with gasoline
after he was caught the first time he attempted to escape from Fort
Magsaysay. A call from a certain „Mam,‰ who wanted to see him
before he was killed, spared him. This time, respondents have
finally escaped. The condition of the threat to be killed has come
to pass. It should be stressed that they are now free from captivity
not because they were released by virtue of a lawful order or
voluntarily freed by their abductors. It ought to be recalled that
towards the end of their ordeal, sometime in June 2007 when
respondents were detained in a camp in Limay, Bataan,
respondentsÊ captors even told them that they were still deciding
whether they should be executed.

The possibility of respondents being executed stared them in the


eye while they were in detention. With their escape, this
continuing threat to their life is apparent, moreso now that they
have surfaced and implicated specific officers in the military not
only in their own abduction and torture, but also in those of other
persons known to have disappeared such as Sherlyn Cadapan,
Karen Empeño, and Manuel Merino, among others.

Next, the violation of the right to security as protection by the


government. Apart from the failure of military elements to
provide protection to respondents by themselves perpetrating the
abduction, detention, and torture, they also miserably failed in
conducting an effective investigation of respondentsÊ
abduction as revealed by the testimony and investigation
report of petitionersÊ own witness, Lt. Col. Ruben Jimenez,
Provost Marshall of the 7th Infantry Division.

The one-day investigation conducted by Jimenez was very limited,


superficial, and one-sided. He merely relied on the Sworn
Statements of the six implicated members of the CAFGU and
civilians whom he met in the investigation for the first time. He
was present at the investigation when his subordinate Lingad was
taking the sworn statements, but he did not propound a single
question to ascertain the veracity of their statements or their
credibility. He did not call for other witnesses to test the alibis
given by the six implicated persons nor for the family or neighbors
of the respondents.

Petitioner Secretary of National Defense attested that in a


Memorandum Directive dated October 31, 2007, he issued a policy
directive addressed to the AFP Chief of Staff, that the AFP should
adopt rules of action in the event the writ of amparo is issued by a
competent court against any members of the AFP, which should
essentially include verification of the identity of the aggrieved
party; recovery and preservation of relevant evidence;
identification of witnesses and securing statements from them;
determination of the cause, manner, location and time of death or
disappearance; identification and apprehension of the person or
persons involved in the death or disappearance; and bringing of the
suspected offenders before a competent court.150 Petitioner AFP
Chief of Staff also submitted his own affidavit attesting that he
received the above directive of respondent Secretary of National
Defense and that acting on this directive, he immediately caused to
be issued a directive to the units of the AFP for the purpose of
establishing the circumstances of the alleged disappearance and the
recent reappearance of the respondents, and undertook to provide
results of the investigations to respondents.151 To this day,
however, almost a year after the policy directive was issued by
petitioner Secretary of National Defense on October 31, 2007,
respondents have not been furnished the results of the investigation
which they now seek through the instant petition for a writ of
amparo. Under these circumstances, there is substantial
evidence to warrant the conclusion that there is a violation of
respondentsÊ right to security as a guarantee of protection by
the government.

IV. Reliefs

Reliefs prayed for by Respondents:


First, that petitioners furnish respondents all official and unofficial
reports of the investigation undertaken in connection with their
case, except those already in file with the court.

Second, that petitioners confirm in writing the present places of


official assignment of M/Sgt. Hilario aka Rollie Castillo and
Donald Caigas.

Third, that petitioners cause to be produced to the Court of


Appeals all medical reports, records and charts, and reports of any
treatment given or recommended and medicines prescribed, if any,
to the Manalo brothers, to include a list of medical personnel
(military and civilian) who attended to them from February 14,
2006 until August 12, 2007.

With respect to the first and second reliefs, petitioners argue that
the production order sought by respondents partakes of the
characteristics of a search warrant. Thus, they claim that the
requisites for the issuance of a search warrant must be complied
with prior to the grant of the production order.

In the case at bar, however, petitioners point out that other than the
bare, self-serving and vague allegations made by respondent
Raymond Manalo in his unverified declaration and affidavit, the
documents respondents seek to be produced are only mentioned
generally by name, with no other supporting details. They also
argue that the relevancy of the documents to be produced must be
apparent, but this is not true in the present case as the involvement
of petitioners in the abduction has not been shown.
PetitionersÊ arguments do not hold water. The production order
under the Amparo Rule should not be confused with a search
warrant for law enforcement under Article III, Section 2 of the
1987 Constitution. This Constitutional provision is a protection of
the people from the unreasonable intrusion of the government, not
a protection of the government from the demand of the people
such as respondents. Instead, the Amparo production order may be
likened to the production of documents or things under Section 1,
Rule 27 of the Rules of Civil Procedure.

In blatant violation of our hard-won guarantees to life, liberty and


security, these rights are snuffed out from victims of extralegal
killings and enforced disappearances. The writ of amparo is a tool
that gives voice to preys of silent guns and prisoners behind secret
walls.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition is DISMISSED.


The Decision of the Court of Appeals dated December 26, 2007 is
affirmed. SO ORDERED.

2. Reyes v. CA, GR No. 182161, Dec. 3, 2009

Facts:
Petitioner Reverend Father Robert Reyes was among those
arrested in the Manila Peninsula Hotel siege on November 30,
2007. In the morning of November 30, 2007, petitioner together
with fifty (50) others, were brought to Camp Crame to await
inquest proceedings. In the evening of the same day, the
Department of Justice (DOJ) Panel of Prosecutors conducted
inquest proceedings to ascertain whether or not there was probable
cause to hold petitioner and the others for trial on charges of
Rebellion and/or Inciting to Rebellion.

On December 1, 2007, upon the request of the Department of


Interior and Local Government (DILG), respondent DOJ Secretary
Raul Gonzales issued Hold Departure Order (HDO) No. 45
ordering respondent Commissioner of Immigration to include in
the Hold Departure List of the Bureau of Immigration and
Deportation (BID) the name of petitioner and 49 others relative to
the aforementioned case in the interest of national security and
public safety.

On December 2, 2007, after finding probable cause against


petitioner and 36 others for the crime of Rebellion under Article
134 of the Revised Penal Code, the DOJ Panel of Prosecutors filed
an Information docketed as I.S. No. 2007-1045 before the
Regional Trial Court, Branch 150 of Makati City.

On December 7, 2007, petitioner filed a Motion for Judicial


Determination of Probable Cause and Release of the Accused Fr.
Reyes Upon Recognizance asserting that the DOJ panel failed to
produce any evidence indicating his specific participation in the
crime charged; and that under the Constitution, the determination
of probable cause must be made personally by a judge.
On December 13, 2007, the RTC issued an Order dismissing the
charge for Rebellion against petitioner and 17 others for lack
of probable cause. The trial court ratiocinated that the evidence
submitted by the DOJ Panel of Investigating Prosecutors failed to
show that petitioner and the other accused-civilians conspired and
confederated with the accused-soldiers in taking arms against the
government; that petitioner and other accused-civilians were
arrested because they ignored the call of the police despite the
deadline given to them to come out from the 2nd Floor of the
Hotel and submit themselves to the police authorities; that mere
presence at the scene of the crime and expressing oneÊs sentiments
on electoral and political reforms did not make them conspirators
absent concrete evidence that the accused-civilians knew
beforehand the intent of the accused-soldiers to commit rebellion;
and that the cooperation which the law penalizes must be one that
is knowingly and intentionally rendered.

On December 18, 2007, petitionerÊs counsel Atty. Francisco L.


Chavez wrote the DOJ Secretary requesting the lifting of HDO
No. 45 in view of the dismissal of Criminal Case No. 07-3126.
On even date, Secretary Gonzales replied to petitionerÊs letter
stating that the DOJ could not act on petitionerÊs request until
Atty. ChavezÊs right to represent petitioner is settled in view
of the fact that a certain Atty. J. V. Bautista representing
himself as counsel of petitioner had also written a letter to the
DOJ.

On January 3, 2008, petitioner filed the instant petition claiming


that despite the dismissal of the rebellion case against
petitioner, HDO No. 45 still subsists; that on December 19, 2007,
petitioner was held by BID officials at the NAIA as his name is
included in the Hold Departure List; that had it not been for the
timely intervention of petitionerÊs counsel, petitioner would not
have been able to take his scheduled flight to Hong Kong; that on
December 26, 2007, petitioner was able to fly back to the
Philippines from Hong Kong but every time petitioner would
present himself at the NAIA for his flights abroad, he stands to be
detained and interrogated by BID officers because of the continued
inclusion of his name in the Hold Departure List; and that the
Secretary of Justice has not acted on his request for the lifting of
HDO No. 45. Petitioner further maintained that immediate
recourse to the Supreme Court for the availment of the writ is
exigent as the continued restraint on petitionerÊs right to travel is
illegal.

On January 24, 2008, respondents represented by the Office of the


Solicitor General (OSG) filed the Return of the Writ raising the
following affirmative defenses:
1) that the Secretary of Justice is authorized to issue Hold
Departure Orders under the DOJ Circulars No. 17, Series of 19982
and No. 18 Series of 20073 pursuant to his mandate under the
Administrative Code of 1987 as ahead of the principal law agency
of the government;
2) that HDO No. 45 dated December 1, 2007 was issued by the
Sec. Gonzales in the course of the preliminary investigation of the
case against herein petitioner upon the request of the DILG;
3) that the lifting of HDO No. 45 is premature in view of public
respondentÊs pending Motion for Reconsideration dated January
3, 2008 filed by the respondents of the Order dated December 13,
2007 of the RTC dismissing Criminal Case No. 07-3126 for
Rebellion for lack of probable cause;
4) that petitioner failed to exhaust administrative remedies by
filing a motion to lift HDO No. 45 before the DOJ; and
5) that the constitutionality of Circulars No. 17 and 18 can not be
attacked collaterally in an amparo proceeding.

During the hearing on January 25, 2008 at 10:00 a.m. at the Paras
Hall of the Court of Appeals, counsels for both parties appeared.
PetitionerÊs counsel Atty. Francisco Chavez manifested that
petitioner is currently in Hong Kong; that every time petitioner
would leave and return to the country, the immigration officers at
the NAIA detain and interrogate him for several minutes because
of the existing HDO; that the power of the DOJ Secretary to issue
HDO has no legal basis; and that petitioner did not file a motion to
lift the HDO before the RTC nor the DOJ because to do so would
be tantamount to recognizing the power of the DOJ Secretary to
issue HDO.

For respondentsÊ part, the Office of the Solicitor-General (OSG)


maintained that the Secretary of the DOJÊs power to issue HDO
springs from its mandate under the Administrative Code to
investigate and prosecute offenders as the principal law agency of
the government; that in its ten-year existence, the constitutionality
of DOJ Circular No. 17 has not been challenged except now; and
that on January 3, 2008, the DOJ Panel of Investigating
Prosecutors had filed a Motion for Reconsideration of the Order of
Dismissal of the trial court.
The petition for a writ of amparo is anchored on the ground
that respondents violated petitionerÊs constitutional right to
travel. Petitioner argues that the DOJ Secretary has no power to
issue a Hold Departure Order (HDO) and the subject HDO No. 45
has no legal basis since Criminal Case No. 07-3126 has already
been dismissed.

On February 4, 2008, the CA rendered the assailed Decision


dismissing the petition and denying the privilege of the writ of
amparo.

Issue:
W/N petitionerÊs right to liberty has been violated or threatened
with violation by the issuance of the subject HDO, which would
entitle him to the privilege of the writ of amparo - No.

Arguments:
Petitioner:
Petitioner maintains that the writ of amparo does not only
exclusively apply to situations of extrajudicial killings and
enforced disappearances but encompasses the whole gamut of
liberties protected by the Constitution. Petitioner argues that
„[liberty] includes the right to exist and the right to be free from
arbitrary personal restraint or servitude and includes the right of
the citizens to be free to use his faculties in all lawful ways.‰ Part
of the right to liberty guaranteed by the Constitution is the right of
a person to travel.
Respondents argue that:
1. HDO No.45 was validly issued by the Secretary of Justice in
accordance with Department of Justice Circular No. 17, Series of
1998,9 and Circular No. 18, Series of 2007,10 which were issued
pursuant to said SecretaryÊs mandate under the Administrative
Code of 1987, as head of the principal law agency of the
government, to investigate the commission of crimes, prosecute
offenders, and provide immigration regulatory services; and;
2) the issue of the constitutionality of the DOJ SecretaryÊs
authority to issue hold departure orders under DOJ Circulars Nos.
17 and 18 is not within the ambit of a writ of amparo.

Held:
No.

The petition must fail. Section 1 of the Rule on the Writ of


Amparo provides: „
Section 1. Petition. — The petition for a writ of amparo is a
remedy available to any person whose right to life, liberty and
security is violated or threatened with violation by an unlawful act
or omission of a public official or employee, or of a private
individual or entity. The writ shall cover extralegal killings and
enforced disappearances or threats thereof.‰

The Court, in Secretary of National Defense et al. v. Manalo et al.,


568 SCRA 1 (2008), made a categorical pronouncement that the
Amparo Rule in its present form is confined to these two
instances of „extralegal killings ‰ and „enforced
disappearances,‰ or to threats thereof.
As the Amparo Rule was intended to address the intractable
problem of „extralegal killings‰ and „enforced disappearances,‰
its coverage, in its present form, is confined to these two instances
or to threats thereof. „Extralegal killings‰ are „killings committed
without due process of law, i.e., without legal safeguards or
judicial proceedings. ‰ On the other hand, „enforced
disappearances‰ are „attended by the following characteristics: an
arrest, detention or abduction of a person by a government official
or organized groups or private individuals acting with the direct or
indirect acquiescence of the government; the refusal of the State to
disclose the fate or whereabouts of the person concerned or a
refusal to acknowledge the deprivation of liberty which places
such persons outside the protection of law.

The writ of amparo is intended to address violations of or


threats to the rights to life, liberty or security, as an
extraordinary and independent remedy beyond those available
under the prevailing Rules, or as a remedy supplemental to
these Rules. What it is not, is a writ to protect concerns that
are purely property or commercial. Neither is it a writ that we
shall issue on amorphous and uncertain grounds.

The Rule on the Writ of Amparo requires that every petition for
the issuance of the writ must be supported by justifying allegations
of fact, to wit:
“(a) The personal circumstances of the petitioner;
(b) The name and personal circumstances of the respondent
responsible for the threat, act or omission, or, if the name is
unknown or uncertain, the respondent may be described by an
assumed appellation;
(c) The right to life, liberty and security of the aggrieved party
violated or threatened with violation by an unlawful act or
omission of the respondent, and how such threat or violation is
committed with the attendant circumstances detailed in supporting
affidavits;
(d) The investigation conducted, if any, specifying the names,
personal circumstances, and addresses of the investigating
authority or individuals, as well as the manner and conduct of the
investigation, together with any report;
(e) The actions and recourses taken by the petitioner to determine
the fate or whereabouts of the aggrieved party and the identity of
the person responsible for the threat, act or omission; and
(f) The relief prayed for.

The petition may include a general prayer for other just and
equitable reliefs.‰14

The writ shall issue if the Court is preliminarily satisfied with the
prima facie existence of the ultimate facts determinable from the
supporting affidavits that detail the circumstances of how and to
what extent a threat to or violation of the rights to life, liberty and
security of the aggrieved party was or is being committed.”

The rights that fall within the protective mantle of the Writ of
Amparo under Section 1 of the Rules thereon are the following: (1)
right to life; (2) right to liberty; and (3) right to security.
The right to travel refers to the right to move from one place to
another.20 As we have stated in Marcos v. Sandiganbayan, „xxx a
personÊs right to travel is subject to the usual constraints imposed
by the very necessity of safeguarding the system of justice. In such
cases, whether the accused should be permitted to leave the
jurisdiction for humanitarian reasons is a matter of the courtÊs
sound discretion.‰

Here, the restriction on petitionerÊs right to travel as a


consequence of the pendency of the criminal case filed against
him was not unlawful. Petitioner has also failed to establish
that his right to travel was impaired in the manner and to the
extent that it amounted to a serious violation of his right to life,
liberty and security, for which there exists no readily available
legal recourse or remedy.

We find the direct recourse to this Court inappropriate, considering


the provision of Section 22 of the Rule on the Writ of Amparo
which reads:

„Section 22. Effect of Filing of a Criminal Action.·When a


criminal action has been commenced, no separate petition for the
writ shall be filed. The reliefs under the writ shall be available by
motion in the criminal case. The procedure under this Rule shall
govern the disposition of the reliefs available under the writ of
amparo.‰

Pursuant to the aforementioned Section 22, petitioner should have


filed with the RTC-Makati a motion to lift HDO No. 45 in
Criminal Case No. 07-3126. Petitioner, however, did not file in the
RTC-Makati a motion to lift the DOJÊs HDO, as his co-accused
did in the same criminal case. Petitioner argues that it was not the
RTC-Makati but the DOJ that issued the said HDO, and that it is
his intention not to limit his remedy to the lifting of the HDO but
also to question before this Court the constitutionality of the power
of the DOJ Secretary to issue an HDO.

We quote with approval the CAÊs ruling on this matter: The said
provision [Section 22] is an affirmation by the Supreme Court of
its pronouncement in Crespo v. Mogul that once a complaint or
information is filed in court, any disposition of the case such as its
dismissal or its continuation rests on the sound discretion of the
court. Despite the denial of respondentÊs MR of the dismissal of
the case against petitioner, the trial court has not lost control over
Criminal Case No. 07-3126 which is still pending before it. By
virtue of its residual power, the court a quo retains the authority to
entertain incidents in the instant case to the exclusion of even this
Court. The relief petitioner seeks which is the lifting of the HDO
was and is available by motion in the criminal case. (Sec. 22, Rule
on the Writ of Amparo, supra).

Even in civil cases pending before the trial courts, the Court
has no authority to separately and directly intervene through
the writ of amparo.

Additionally, Petitioner is seeking the extraordinary writ of amparo


due to his apprehension that the DOJ may deny his motion to lift
the HDO. PetitionerÊs apprehension is at best merely speculative.
Thus, he has failed to show any clear threat to his right to liberty
actionable through a petition for a writ of amparo. The absence of
an actual controversy also renders it unnecessary for us on this
occasion to pass upon the constitutionality of DOJ Circular No. 17,
Series of 1998 (Prescribing Rules and Regulations Governing the
Issuance of Hold Departure Orders); and Circular No. 18, Series of
2007 (Prescribing Rules and Regulations Governing the Issuance
and Implementation of Watchlist Orders and for Other Purposes).

WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED. The assailed Decision


of the CA dated February 4, 2008 in CA- G.R. No. 00011 is hereby
AFFIRMED. SO ORDERED.

3. Pador v. Arcayan, G.R. No. 183460, 12 March 2013

Facts:
Petitioners Pador filed a petition for the issuance of a Writ of
Amparo alleging that in February 2008, rumors circulated that
petitioner Nerio Pador was a marijuana planter in Barangay
Tabunan, Cebu City. On 17 March 2008, respondents Alberto
Alivio, Carmelo Revales and Roberto Alimorin raided their
ampalaya farm to search for marijuana plants, but found none.5
After the raid, petitioners Nerio and Rey Pador received invitation
letters for a conference from respondent Barangay Captain
Arcayan.6 They referred the invitation letters to their counsel,
who advised them not to attend and, instead, send a letter-
reply to Barangay Captain Arcayan. When the latter received
the letter-reply, he allegedly read its contents, got one copy,
and refused to sign a receipt of the document.7 Petitioners then
concluded that the conduct of the raid, the sending of the
invitation letters, the refusal of respondent barangay captain to
receive their letter- reply―as well as the possibility of more
harassment cases, false accusations, and possible violence from
respondents―gravely threatened their right to life, liberty and
security and necessitated the issuance of a writ of amparo.8

After examining the contents of the petition and the affidavits


attached to it, the RTC issued the Writ and directed respondents to
make a verified return.

In compliance with the RTCÊs directive, respondents filed their


Verified Return and/or Comment.10 Respondents claim that they
received information that there was a marijuana plantation in the
said area, and that the invitations were sent as the allegations of
threats and intimidation made by Nerio against some of the
barangay tanods were serious. Barangay Captain Arcayan
explained that he no longer signed a copy of petitionersÊ letter-
reply, as he had already been given a copy of it.

RTC denied the petitioners the privilege of the writ of amparo.

Hence this petition for review before the SC.

Issue:
W/N the petitioners are entitled to the privilege of the writ of
amparo - No.
Held:
No.

Section 1 of the Rule on the Writ of Amparo provides for the


grounds that may be relied upon in a petition therefor, as follows:

SEC. 1. Petition.―The petition for a writ of amparo is a remedy


available to any person whose right to life, liberty and security is
violated or threatened with violation by an unlawful act or
omission of a public official or employee, or of a private individual
or entity. The writ shall cover extralegal killings and enforced
disappearances or threats thereof.

Thus, to be entitled to the privilege of the writ, petitioners must


prove by substantial evidence that their rights to life, liberty and
security are being violated or threatened by an unlawful act or
omission.

A closer look at the instant Petition shows that it is anchored on the


following allegations:
first, that respondents conducted a raid on the property of
petitioner based on information that the latter were cultivators of
marijuana;
second, that respondent barangay captain sent them invitation
letters without stating the purpose of the invitation;
third, that respondent barangay captain refused to receive
petitionersÊ letter-reply; and
fourth, that petitioners anticipate the possibility of more
harassment cases, false accusations, and potential violence from
respondents.

All these allegations are insufficient bases for a grant of the


privilege of the writ.

On the first allegation, we find that the supposed raid on


petitionersÊ ampalaya farm was sufficiently controverted by
respondents. Respondents alleged, and the trial court found, that a
roving patrol was conducted, not on the ampalaya farm of Nerio
Pador, but on an area locally called Sitio Gining, which was beside
the lot possessed by David Quintana. Assuming, however, that
respondents had in fact entered the ampalaya farm, petitioner Rey
Pador himself admitted that they had done so with his permission

Finally, even assuming that the entry was done without


petitionersÊ permission, we cannot grant the privilege of the
writ of amparo based upon a trespass on their ampalaya farm.
Granting that the intrusion occurred, it was merely a violation
of petitionersÊ property rights.

In Tapuz v. Del Rosario, 554 SCRA 768 (2008), we ruled that the
writ of amparo does not envisage the protection of concerns
that are purely property or commercial in nature, as follows:
[T]he writ of amparo was originally conceived as a response to the
extraordinary rise in the number of killings and enforced
disappearances, and to the perceived lack of available and effective
remedies to address these extraordinary concerns. It is intended to
address violations of or threats to the rights to life, liberty or
security, as an extraordinary and independent remedy beyond those
available under the prevailing Rules, or as a remedy supplemental
to these Rules. What it is not, is a writ to protect concerns that
are purely property or commercial. Neither is it a writ that we
shall issue on amorphous and uncertain grounds. x x x.
(Emphasis in the original)

We therefore rule that the alleged intrusion upon petitionersÊ


ampalaya farm is an insufficient ground to grant the privilege
of the writ of amparo.

On petitionersÊ second and third allegations, we find that the


barangay captainÊs act of sending invitation letters to petitioners
and failure to sign the receiving copy of their letter-reply did not
violate or threaten their constitutional right to life, liberty or
security. The records show that Barangay Captain Arcayan
sufficiently explained the factual basis for his actions. Moreover,
the records are bereft of any evidence that petitioners were coerced
to attend the conference through the use of force or intimidation.
On the contrary, they had full freedom to refuse to attend the
conference, as they have in fact done in this case.

The fourth allegation of petitioner―that, following these events,


they can anticipate more harassment cases, false accusations and
possible violence from respondents―is baseless, unfounded, and
grounded merely on pure speculations and conjectures. As such,
this allegation does not warrant the consideration of this Court. On
a final note, we reiterate that the privilege of the writ of amparo is
an extraordinary remedy adopted to address the special concerns of
extralegal killings and enforced disappearances.
„Accordingly, the remedy ought to be resorted to and granted
judiciously, lest the ideal sought by the Amparo Rule be diluted
and undermined by the indiscriminate filing of amparo petitions
for purposes less than the desire to secure amparo reliefs and
protection and/or on the basis of unsubstantiated allegations.‰32

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant Petition for


Review is DENIED. The 3 July 2008 Resolution of the Regional
Trial Court, Branch 17, Cebu City, in Spec. Proc. No. 16061-CEB
is AFFIRMED. SO ORDERED.

4. Navia v. Pardico, GR No. 184467, 19 June 2012

Facts:
On March 31, 2008, at around 8:30 p.m., a vehicle of Asian Land
Strategies Corporation8 (Asian Land) arrived at the house of
Lolita M. Lapore (Lolita) located at 7A Lot 9, Block 54, Grand
Royale Subdivision, Barangay Lugam, Malolos City. The arrival
of the vehicle awakened LolitaÊs son, Enrique Lapore (Bong), and
Benhur Pardico (Ben), who were then both staying in her house.
When Lolita went out to investigate, she saw two uniformed
guards disembarking from the vehicle. One of them immediately
asked Lolita where they could find her son Bong. Before Lolita
could answer, the guard saw Bong and told him that he and Ben
should go with them to the security office of Asian Land
because a complaint was lodged against them for theft of
electric wires and lamps in the subdivision.9 Shortly thereafter,
Bong, Lolita and Ben were in the office of the security department
of Asian Land also located in Grand Royale Subdivision.10 The
supervisor of the security guards, petitioner Edgardo Navia
(Navia), also arrived thereat.

Petitioners Version:
Petitioners alleged that they invited Bong and Ben to their office
because they received a report from a certain Mrs. Emphasis, a
resident of Grand Royale Subdivision, that she saw Bong and Ben
removing a lamp from a post in said subdivision.11 The reported
unauthorized taking of the lamp was relayed thru radio to
petitioners Ruben Dio (Dio) and Andrew Buising (Buising), who
both work as security guards at the Asian Land security
department. Following their departmentÊs standard operating
procedure, Dio and Buising entered the report in their logbook and
proceeded to the house of Mrs. Emphasis. It was there where Dio
and Buising were able to confirm who the suspects were. They
thus repaired to the house of Lolita where Bong and Ben were
staying to invite the two suspects to their office. Bong and Ben
voluntarily went with them.

At the security office, Dio and Buising interviewed Bong and Ben.
The suspects admitted that they took the lamp but clarified that
they were only transferring it to a post nearer to the house of
Lolita.12 Soon, Navia arrived and Buising informed him that the
complainant was not keen in participating in the investigation.

Since there was no complainant, Navia ordered the release of Bong


and Ben. Bong then signed a statement to the effect that the guards
released him without inflicting any harm or injury to him.13 His
mother Lolita also signed the logbook below an entry which states
that she will never again harbor or entertain Ben in her house.
Thereafter, Lolita and Bong left the security office. Ben was left
behind as Navia was still talking to him about those who might be
involved in the reported loss of electric wires and lamps within the
subdivision. After a brief discussion though, Navia allowed Ben to
leave. Ben also affixed his signature on the logbook to affirm the
statements entered by the guards that he was released unharmed
and without any injury.14

Upon NaviaÊs instructions, Dio and Buising went back to the


house of Lolita to make her sign the logbook as witness that they
indeed released Ben from their custody. Lolita asked Buising to
read aloud that entry in the logbook where she was being asked to
sign, to which Buising obliged. Not contented, Lolita put on her
reading glasses and read the entry in the logbook herself before
affixing her signature therein. After which, the guards left.
Subsequently, petitioners received an invitation15 from the
Malolos City Police Station requesting them to appear thereat on
April 17, 2008 relative to the complaint of Virginia Pardico
(Virginia) about her missing husband Ben.

In compliance with the invitation, all three petitioners appeared at


the Malolos City Police Station. However, since Virginia was not
present despite having received the same invitation, the meeting
was reset to April 22, 2008.16 On April 22, 2008, Virginia
attended the investigation. Petitioners informed her that they
released Ben and that they have no information as to his present
whereabouts.17 They assured Virginia though that they will
cooperate and help in the investigation of her missing husband.

Respondents version:
According to respondent, Bong and Ben were not merely invited.
They were unlawfully arrested, shoved into the Asian Land vehicle
and brought to the security office for investigation. Upon seeing
Ben at the security office, Navia lividly grumbled „Ikaw na
naman? ‰ 19 and slapped him while he was still seated. Ben
begged for mercy, but his pleas were met with a flurry of punches
coming from Navia hitting him on different parts of his body.20
Navia then took hold of his gun, looked at Bong, and said, „Wala
kang nakita at wala kang narinig, papatayin ko na si Ben.‰

Bong admitted that he and Ben attempted to take the lamp. He


explained that the area where their house is located is very dark
and his father had long been asking the administrator of Grand
Royale Subdivision to install a lamp to illumine their area. But
since nothing happened, he took it upon himself to take a lamp
from one of the posts in the subdivision and transfer it to a post
near their house. However, the lamp Bong got was no longer
working. Thus, he reinstalled it on the post from which he took it
and no longer pursued his plan.22 Later on, Lolita was instructed
to sign an entry in the guardÊs logbook where she undertook not to
allow Ben to stay in her house anymore.23 Thereafter, Navia again
asked Lolita to sign the logbook. Upon LolitaÊs inquiry as to why
she had to sign again, Navia explained that they needed proof that
they released her son Bong unharmed but that Ben had to stay as
the latterÊs case will be forwarded to the barangay. Since she has
poor eyesight, Lolita obligingly signed the logbook without
reading it and then left with Bong.24 At that juncture, Ben grabbed
Bong and pleaded not to be left alone. However, since they were
afraid of Navia, Lolita and Bong left the security office at once
leaving Ben behind.25 Moments after Lolita and Bong reached
their house, Buising arrived and asked Lolita to sign the logbook
again. Lolita asked Buising why she had to sign again when she
already twice signed the logbook at the headquarters. Buising
assured her that what she was about to sign only pertains to
BongÊs release. Since it was dark and she has poor eyesight,
Lolita took BuisingÊs word and signed the logbook without, again,
reading what was written in it. 26 The following morning, Virginia
went to the Asian Land security office to visit her husband Ben,
but only to be told that petitioners had already released him
together with Bong the night before. She then looked for Ben,
asked around, and went to the barangay. Since she could not still
find her husband, Virginia reported the matter to the police.

In the course of the investigation on BenÊs disappearance, it


dawned upon Lolita that petitioners took advantage of her poor
eyesight and naivete. They made her sign the logbook as a witness
that they already released Ben when in truth and in fact she never
witnessed his actual release. The last time she saw Ben was when
she left him in petitionersÊ custody at the security office.27

Exasperated with the mysterious disappearance of her


husband, Virginia filed a Petition for Writ of Amparo28 before
the RTC of Malolos City.
The RTC, finding the petition sufficient in form and substance,
issued an Order29 dated June 26, 2008 directing, among others,
the issuance of a writ of amparo and the production of the body of
Ben before it on June 30, 2008.

A Writ of Amparo31 was accordingly issued and served on the


petitioners on June 27, 2008.32 On June 30, 2008, petitioners filed
their Compliance33 praying for the denial of the petition for lack
of merit. A summary hearing was thereafter conducted. Petitioners
presented the testimony of Buising, while Virginia submitted the
sworn statements34 of Lolita and Enrique which the two affirmed
on the witness stand.

RTC granted the petition and deemed it proper:


(a) To hereby direct the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to
immediately conduct a deep and thorough investigation of the
[petitioners] Edgardo Navia, Ruben Dio and Andrew Buising in
connection with the circumstances surrounding the disappearance
of [Benhur] Pardico, utilizing in the process, as part of the
investigation, the documents forming part of the records of this
case;
(b) To hereby direct the NBI to extend to the family of [Benhur]
Pardico and the witnesses who testified in this case protection as it
may deem necessary to secure their safety and security; and
(c) To hereby direct the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor of
Bulacan to investigate the circumstances concerning the legality of
the arrest of [Benhur] Pardico by the [petitioners] in this case,
utilizing in the process, as part of said investigation, the pertinent
documents and admissions forming part of the record of this case,
and take whatever course/s of action as may be warranted.

Hence this petition. Petitioners contend that the writ of amparo is


available only in cases where the factual and legal bases of the
violation or threatened violation of the aggrieved partyÊs right to
life, liberty and security are clear. Petitioners assert that in the case
at bench, Virginia miserably failed to establish all these.

First, the petition is wanting on its face as it failed to state with


some degree of specificity the alleged unlawful act or omission of
the petitioners constituting a violation of or a threat to BenÊs right
to life, liberty and security.

And second, it cannot be deduced from the evidence Virginia


adduced that Ben is missing; or that petitioners had a hand in his
alleged disappearance. On the other hand, the entries in the
logbook which bear the signatures of Ben and Lolita are eloquent
proof that petitioners released Ben on March 31, 2008 at around
10:30 p.m. Petitioners thus posit that the trial court erred in issuing
the writ and in holding them responsible for BenÊs disappearance.

Issue:
W/N Ben’s disappearance as alleged in the Petition and proved
during the proceedings falls within the Rule on the Writ of Amparo
such that the granting of the petition is proper - No.

Held:
No.
VirginiaÊs Petition for Writ of Amparo is fatally defective and
must perforce be dismissed, but not for the reasons adverted to by
the petitioners.

A.M. No. 07-9-12-SC or The Rule on the Writ of Amparo was


promulgated to arrest the rampant extralegal killings and enforced
disappearances in the country. Its purpose is to provide an
expeditious and effective relief „to any person whose right to life,
liberty and security is violated or threatened with violation by an
unlawful act or omission of a public official or employee, or of a
private individual or entity.

Here, BenÊs right to life, liberty and security is firmly settled as


the parties do not dispute his identity as the same person
summoned and questioned at petitionersÊ security office on the
night of March 31, 2008. Such uncontroverted fact ipso facto
established BenÊs inherent and constitutionally enshrined right to
life, liberty and security. Article 6 of the International Covenant on
Civil and Political Rights42 recognizes every human beingÊs
inherent right to life, while Article 943 thereof ordains that
everyone has the right to liberty and security. The right to life must
be protected by law while the right to liberty and security cannot
be impaired except on grounds provided by and in accordance with
law. This overarching command against deprivation of life, liberty
and security without due process of law is also embodied in our
fundamental law.

Section 1 of A.M. No. 07-9-12-SC provides: „


SECTION 1. Petition.·The petition for a writ of amparo is a
remedy available to any person whose right to life, liberty and
security is violated or threatened with violation by an unlawful act
or omission of a public official or employee, or of a private
individual or entity.

The writ shall cover extralegal killings and enforced


disappearances or threats thereof.‰

While Section 1 provides A.M. No. 07-9-12-SCÊs coverage, said


Rules does not, however, define extralegal killings and enforced
disappearances. Then, the budding jurisprudence on amparo
blossomed in Razon, Jr. v. Tagitis46 when this Court defined
enforced disappearances. The Court in that case applied the
generally accepted principles of international law and adopted the
International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from
Enforced DisappearanceÊs definition of enforced disappearances,
as “the arrest, detention, abduction or any other form of
deprivation of liberty by agents of the State or by persons or
groups of persons acting with the authorization, support or
acquiescence of the State, followed by a refusal to acknowledge
the deprivation of liberty or by concealment of the fate or
whereabouts of the disappeared person, which place such a
person outside the protection of the law.”

Not long thereafter, another significant development affecting


A.M. No. 07-9-12-SC came about after Congress enacted Republic
Act (RA) No. 985148, otherwise known as the PHILIPPINE
ACT ON CRIMES AGAINST INTERNATIONAL
HUMANITARIAN LAW, GENOCIDE, AND OTHER
CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY, on December 11, 2009.
Section 3(g) thereof defines enforced or involuntary
disappearances as follows:
(g) „Enforced or involuntary disappearance of persons ‰ means
the arrest, detention, or abduction of persons by, or with the
authorization, support or acquiescence of, a State or a political
organization followed by a refusal to acknowledge that
deprivation of freedom or to give information on the fate or
whereabouts of those persons, with the intention of removing
from the protection of the law for a prolonged period of time.

Then came Rubrico v. Macapagal-Arroyo49 where Justice Arturo


D. Brion wrote in his Separate Opinion that with the enactment of
RA No. 9851, „the Rule on the Writ of Amparo is now a
procedural law anchored, not only on the constitutional rights to
the rights to life, liberty and security, but on a concrete statutory
definition as well of what an Âenforced or involuntary
disappearanceÊ is. ‰ 50 Therefore, A.M. No. 07-9-12-SCÊs
reference to enforced disappearances should be construed to
mean the enforced or involuntary disappearance of persons
contemplated in Section 3(g) of RA No. 9851. Meaning, in
probing enforced disappearance cases, courts should read
A.M. No. 07-9-12- SC in relation to RA No. 9851.

From the statutory definition of enforced disappearance, thus, we


can derive the following elements that constitute it:
(a) that there be an arrest, detention, abduction or any form of
deprivation of liberty;
(b) that it be carried out by, or with the authorization, support or
acquiescence of, the State or a political organization;
(c) that it be followed by the State or political organizationÊs
refusal to acknowledge or give information on the fate or
whereabouts of the person subject of the amparo petition; and,
(d) that the intention for such refusal is to remove subject person
from the protection of the law for a prolonged period of time.

As thus dissected, it is now clear that for the protective writ of


amparo to issue, allegation and proof that the persons subject
thereof are missing are not enough. It must also be shown and
proved by substantial evidence that the disappearance was
carried out by, or with the authorization, support or
acquiescence of, the State or a political organization, followed
by a refusal to acknowledge the same or give information on
the fate or whereabouts of said missing persons, with the
intention of removing them from the protection of the law for a
prolonged period of time. Simply put, the petitioner in an
amparo case has the burden of proving by substantial evidence
the indispensable element of government participation.

In the present case, we do not doubt BongÊs testimony that Navia


had a menacing attitude towards Ben and that he slapped and
inflicted fistic blows upon him. Given the circumstances and the
pugnacious character of Navia at that time, his threatening
statement, „Wala kang nakita at wala kang narinig, papatayin ko na
si Ben, ‰ cannot be taken lightly. It unambiguously showed his
predisposition at that time. In addition, there is nothing on record
which would support petitionersÊ assertion that they released Ben
on the night of March 31, 2008 unscathed from their wrath. Lolita
sufficiently explained how she was prodded into affixing her
signatures in the logbook without reading the entries therein. And
so far, the information petitioners volunteered are sketchy at best,
like the alleged complaint of Mrs. Emphasis who was never
identified or presented in court and whose complaint was never
reduced in writing.

But lest it be overlooked, in an amparo petition, proof of


disappearance alone is not enough. It is likewise essential to
establish that such disappearance was carried out with the
direct or indirect authorization, support or acquiescence of the
government. This indispensable element of State participation
is not present in this case. The petition does not contain any
allegation of State complicity, and none of the evidence presented
tend to show that the government or any of its agents orchestrated
BenÊs disappearance. In fact, none of its agents, officials, or
employees were impleaded or implicated in VirginiaÊs amparo
petition whether as responsible or accountable persons. Thus, in
the absence of an allegation or proof that the government or its
agents had a hand in BenÊs disappearance or that they failed
to exercise extraordinary diligence in investigating his case, the
Court will definitely not hold the government or its agents
either as responsible or accountable persons.

We are aware that under Section 1 of A.M. No. 07-9-12-SC a writ


of amparo may lie against a private individual or entity. But even
if the person sought to be held accountable or responsible in an
amparo petition is a private individual or entity, still,
government involvement in the disappearance remains an
indispensable element. Here, petitioners are mere security
guards at Grand Royale Subdivision in Brgy. Lugam, Malolos
City and their principal, the Asian Land, is a private entity.
They do not work for the government and nothing has been
presented that would link or connect them to some covert
police, military or governmental operation. As discussed above,
to fall within the ambit of A.M. No. 07-9-12-SC in relation to RA
No. 9851, the disappearance must be attended by some
governmental involvement. This hallmark of State participation
differentiates an enforced disappearance case from an
ordinary case of a missing person.

WHEREFORE, the July 24, 2008 Decision of the Regional Trial


Court, Branch 20, Malolos City, is REVERSED and SET ASIDE.
The Petition for Writ of Amparo filed by Virginia Pardico is
hereby DISMISSED. SO ORDERED.

5. Razon v. Tagitis, G.R. No. 182498, Dec. 3, 2009 -

Facts:
The established facts show that Tagitis, a consultant for the World
Bank and the Senior Honorary Counselor for the Islamic
Development Bank (IDB) Scholarship Programme, was last seen
in Jolo, Sulu. Together with Arsimin Kunnong (Kunnong), an IDB
scholar, Tagitis arrived in Jolo by boat in the early morning of
October 31, 2007 from a seminar in Zamboanga City. They
immediately checked-in at ASY Pension House. Tagitis asked
Kunnong to buy him a boat ticket for his return trip the following
day to Zamboanga. When Kunnong returned from this errand,
Tagitis was no longer around.5 The receptionist related that Tagitis
went out to buy food at around 12:30 in the afternoon and even left
his room key with the desk.6 Kunnong looked for Tagitis and even
sent a text message to the latterÊs Manila- based secretary who did
not know of TagitisÊ whereabouts and activities either; she
advised Kunnong to simply wait.7

On November 4, 2007, Kunnong and Muhammad Abdulnazeir N.


Matli, a UP professor of Muslim studies and TagitisÊ fellow
student counselor at the IDB, reported TagitisÊ disappearance to
the Jolo Police Station.8 On November 7, 2007, Kunnong executed
a sworn affidavit attesting to what he knew of the circumstances
surrounding TagitisÊ disappearance.9

More than a month later (on December 28, 2007), the respondent
filed a Petition for the Writ of Amparo (petition) with the CA
through her Attorney-in-Fact, Atty. Felipe P. Arcilla.10 The
petition was directed against Lt. Gen. Alexander Yano,
Commanding General, Philippine Army; Gen. Avelino I.
Razon, Chief, Philippine National Police (PNP); Gen. Edgardo
M. Doromal, Chief, Criminal Investigation and Detention
Group (CIDG); Sr. Supt. Leonardo A. Espina, Chief, Police
Anti-Crime and Emergency Response; Gen. Joel Goltiao,
Regional Director, ARMM-PNP; and Gen. Ruben Rafael,
Chief, Anti-Terror Task Force Comet [collectively referred to as
petitioners].

After reciting TagitisÊ personal circumstances and the facts


outlined above, the petition went on to state:

"Soon after the student left the room, Engr. Tagitis went out of the
pension house to take his early lunch but while out on the street, a
couple of burly men believed to be police intelligence operatives,
forcibly took him and boarded the latter on a motor vehicle then
sped away without the knowledge of his student, Arsimin
Kunnong;

Arsimin Kunnong including his friends and companions in Jolo,


exerted efforts in trying to locate the whereabouts of Engr. Tagitis
and when he reported the matter to the police authorities in Jolo,
he was immediately given a ready answer that Engr. Tagitis could
have been abducted by the Abu Sayyaf group and other groups
known to be fighting against the government;

Being scared with [sic] these suggestions and insinuations of the


police officers, Kunnong reported the matter to the [respondent,
wife of Engr. Tagitis] by phone and other responsible officers and
coordinators of the IDB Scholarship Programme in the Philippines,
who alerted the office of the Governor of ARMM who was then
preparing to attend the OIC meeting in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

According to reliable information received by the [respondent],


subject Engr. Tagitis is in the custody of police intelligence
operatives, specifically with the CIDG, PNP Zamboanga City,
being held against his will in an earnest attempt of the police to
involve and connect Engr. Tagitis with the different terrorist
groups;
[Respondent] filed her complaint with the PNP Police Station in
the ARMM in Cotobato and in Jolo, as suggested by her friends,
seeking their help to find her husband, but [respondentÊs] request
and pleadings failed to produce any positive results;

Instead of helping the [respondent], she [sic] was told of an


intriguing tale by the police that her husband, subject of the
petition, was not missing but was with another woman having
good time somewhere, which is a clear indication of the
[petitionersÊ] refusal to help and provide police assistance in
locating her missing husband;

In fact at times, some police officers, who [sympathized with]


the sufferings undergone by the [respondent], informed her
that they are not the proper persons that she should approach,
but assured her not to worry because her husband is [sic] in
good hands;

[The respondent] has exhausted all administrative avenues and


remedies but to no avail, and under the circumstances, [the
respondent] has no other plain, speedy and adequate remedy to
protect and get the release of subject Engr. Morced Tagitis from
the illegal clutches of the [petitioners], their intelligence operatives
and the like which are in total violation of the subjectÊs human
and constitutional rights, except the issuance of a WRIT OF
AMPARO”

CA immediately issued the Writ of Amparo and directed the


petitioners herein to file their verified return within 72 hours from
service of the Writ.

In their verified Return filed during the hearing of January 27,


2008, the petitioners denied any involvement in or knowledge
of TagitisÊ alleged abduction. They argued that the allegations
of the petition were incomplete and did not constitute a cause
of action against them; were baseless, or at best speculative;
and were merely based on hearsay evidence.

The affidavit of PNP Chief Gen. Avelino I. Razon, attached to the


Return, stated that: he did not have any personal knowledge of, or
any participation in, the alleged disappearance; that he had been
designated by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo as the head of a
special body called TASK FORCE USIG, to address concerns
about extralegal killings and enforced disappearances; the Task
Force, inter alia, coordinated with the investigators and local
police, held case conferences, rendered legal advice in connection
to these cases; and gave the following summary:

"That the Director, CIDG directed the conduct of the search in all
divisions of the CIDG to find Engr. Tagitis who was allegedly
abducted or illegally detained by covert CIDG-PNP Intelligence
Operatives since October 30, 2007, but after diligent and thorough
search, records show that no such person is being detained in
CIDG or any of its department or divisions.”

The petitioner PNP-CIDG Chief, Gen. Edgardo M. Doromal,


submitted as well his affidavit, also attached to the Return of the
Writ, attesting that upon receipt of the Writ of Amparo, he caused
the following:
1. The CIDG to conduct an urgent investigation on the alleged
enforced disappearance of Tagitis.
2. That herein [petitioner] searched all divisions and departments
for a person named Engr. Morced N. Tagitis, who was allegedly
abducted or illegally detained by covert CIDG-PNP Intelligence
Operatives since October 30, 2007 and after a diligent and
thorough research records show that no such person is being
detained in CIDG or any of its department or divisions.
3. That nevertheless, in order to determine the circumstances
surrounding Engr. Morced Tagitis [sic] alleged enforced
disappearance, the undersigned had undertaken immediate
investigation and will pursue investigations up to its full
completion in order to aid in the prosecution of the person or
persons responsible therefore.

Likewise attached to the Return of the Writ was PNP- PACER15


Chief PS Supt. Leonardo A. EspinaÊs affidavit which alleged:
That right after I learned of the receipt of the WRIT OF AMPARO,
I directed the Chief of PACER Mindanao Oriental (PACER-MOR)
to conduct pro-active measures to investigate, locate/search the
subject, identify and apprehend the persons responsible, to recover
and preserve evidence related to the disappearance of ENGR.
MORCED TAGITIS, which may aid in the prosecution of the
person or persons responsible, to identify witnesses and obtain
statements from them concerning the disappearance and to
determine the cause, manner, location and time of disappearance as
well as any pattern or practice that may have brought about the
disappearance.

Since the disappearance of Tagistis was practically admitted and


taking note of favorable actions so far taken on the disappearance,
the CA directed Gen. Goltiao·as the officer in command of the
area of disappearance·to form TASK FORCE TAGITIS.

In the hearing on January 17, 2008, TASK FORCE TAGITIS


submitted to the CA an intelligence report from PSL Usman S.
Pingay, the Chief of Police of the Jolo Police Station, stating a
possible motive for TagitisÊ disappearance.22 The intelligence
report was apparently based on the sworn affidavit dated January
4, 2008 of Muhammad Abdulnazeir N. Matli (Prof. Matli),
Professor of Islamic Studies at the University of the Philippines
and an Honorary Student Counselor of the IDB Scholarship
Program in the Philippines, who told the Provincial Governor of
Sulu that: [based] on reliable information from the Office of
Muslim Affairs in Manila, Tagitis has reportedly taken and carried
away⁄ more or less Five Million Pesos (P5,000,000.00) deposited
and entrusted to his ⁄ [personal] bank accounts by the Central
Office of IDB, Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which [was]
intended for the ⁄ IDB Scholarship Fund.

In the same hearing, PS Supt. Ajirim testified that since the CIDG
was alleged to be responsible, he personally went to the CIDG
office in Zamboanga City to conduct an ocular
inspection/investigation, particularly of their detention cells.24 PS
Supt. Ajirim stated that the CIDG, while helping TASK FORCE
TAGITIS investigate the disappearance of Tagitis, persistently
denied any knowledge or complicity in any abduction.25 He
further testified that prior to the hearing, he had already mobilized
and given specific instructions to their supporting units to perform
their respective tasks; that they even talked to, but failed to get any
lead from the respondent in Jolo.

PS Supt. Ajirim recommended that the Writ of Amparo filed


against the respondents be dropped and dismissed considering on
[sic] the police and military actions in the area particularly the
CIDG are exerting their efforts and religiously doing their tasked
[sic] in the conduct of its intelligence monitoring and investigation
for the early resolution of this instant case. But rest assured, our
office, in coordination with other law-enforcement agencies in the
area, are continuously and religiously conducting our investigation
for the resolution of this case.

On February 4, 2008, the CA issued an ALARM WARNING that


Task Force Tagitis did not appear to be exerting extraordinary
efforts in resolving TagitisÊ disappearance…

Testimonies of respondent
Mrs. Tagitis and her friend Mrs. Talbin testified that:
On November 24, 2007, we went back to Camp Katitipan with my
three friends. That was the time that Col. Kasim read to us the
confidential report that Engr. Tagitis was allegedly connected
[with] different terrorist [groups], one of which he mentioned in
the report was OMAR PATIK and a certain SANTOS - a Balik
Islam. It is also said that Engr. Tagitis is carrying boxes of
medicines for the injured terrorists as a supplier. These are the two
information that I can still remember. It was written in a long bond
paper with PNP Letterhead. It was not shown to us, yet Col. Kasim
was the one who read it for us. He asked a favor to me that „Please
donÊt quote my Name! Because this is a raw report.‰ He assured
me that my husband is alive and he is in the custody of the
military for custodial investigation. I told him to please take
care of my husband because he has aliments and he recently
took insulin for he is a diabetic patient.

Testimonies of petitioner
On February 11, 2008, the petitioners presented Col. Kasim to
rebut material portions of the respondentÊs testimony, particularly
the allegation that he had stated that Tagitis was in the custody of
either the military or the PNP.57 Col. Kasim categorically denied
the statements made by the respondent in her narrative report

Col. Kasim emphasized that the „informal letter‰ he received


from his informant in Sulu did not indicate that Tagitis was in
the custody of the CIDG. He also stressed that the information
he provided to the respondent was merely a „raw report ‰
sourced from „barangay intelligence ‰ that still needed
confirmation and „follow-up ‰ as to its veracity.60 On cross-
examination, Col. Kasim testified that the information he gave
the respondent was given to him by his informant, who was a
„civilian asset, ‰ through a letter which he considered as
„unofficial.‰61

Col. Kasim stressed that the letter was only meant for his
„consumption ‰ and not for reading by others.62 He testified
further that he destroyed the letter right after he read it to the
respondent and her companions because „it was not important to
him ‰ and also because the information it contained had no
importance in relation with the abduction of Tagitis.63 He
explained that he did not keep the letter because it did not contain
any information regarding the whereabouts of Tagitis and the
person(s) responsible for his abduction

CA Ruling
The CA issued its decision71 con​- firming that the disappearance
of Tagitis was an „enforced disappearance ‰ under the United
Nations (UN) Decla​ration on the Protection of All Persons from
Enforced Dis-appearances.72 The CA ruled that when military
intelli​- gence pinpointed the investigative arm of the PNP (CIDG)
to be involved in the abduction, the missing-person case qualified
as an enforced disappearance appearances.72 The CA ruled that
when military intelli​- gence pinpointed the investigative arm of
the PNP (CIDG) to be involved in the abduction, the missing-
person case qualified as an enforced disappearance. The
conclusion that the CIDG was involved was based on the
respondentÊs testimony, corroborated by her companion, Mrs.
Talbin. The CA noted that the information that the CIDG, as
the police intelligence arm, was involved in TagitisÊ abduction
came from no less than the military·an independent agency of
government. The CA thus greatly relied on the „raw report‰
from Col. KasimÊs asset, pointing to the CIDGÊs involvement
in TagitisÊ abduction. The CA held that „raw reports‰ from an
„asset‰ carried „great weight‰ in the intelligence world. It also
labeled as „suspect ‰ Col. KasimÊs subsequent and belated
retraction of his state​ment that the military, the police, or the CIDG
was involved in the abduction of Tagitis.

Based on these considerations, the CA thus extended the privilege


of the writ to Tagitis and his family, and directed the CIDG Chief,
Col. Jose Volpane Pante, PNP Chief Avelino I. Razon, Task Force
Tagitis heads Gen. Joel Goltiao and Col. Ahiron Ajirim, and
PACER Chief Sr. Supt. Leonardo A. Espina to exert extraordinary
diligence and efforts to protect the life, liberty and security of
Tagitis, with the obligation to provide monthly reports of their
actions to the CA. At the same time, the CA dismissed the petition
against the then respondents from the military, Lt. Gen Alexander
Yano and Gen. Ruben Rafael, based on the finding that it was
PNP-CIDG, not the military, that was involved.

Hence this petition.

Issue:
W/N the petition for the issuance of the writ of Amparo should be
granted - Yes

Held:
Yes.

This Decision reflects the nature of the Writ of Amparo·a


protective remedy against violations or threats of violation against
the rights to life, liberty and security. It embodies, as a remedy, the
courtÊs directive to police agencies to undertake specified courses
of action to address the disappearance of an individual, in this
case, Engr. Morced N. Tagitis. It does not determine guilt nor
pinpoint criminal culpability for the disappearance; rather, it
determines responsi​bility, or at least accountability, for the
enforced disappearance for purposes of imposing the appropriate
remedies to address the disappearance. Responsibility refers to the
extent the actors have been established by substantial evidence to
have participated in whatever way, by action or omission, in an
enforced disappearance, as a measure of the remedies this Court
shall craft, among them, the directive to file the appropriate
criminal and civil cases against the responsible parties in the
proper courts. Accountability, on the other hand, refers to the
measure of remedies that should be addressed to those who
exhibited involvement in the enforced disappearance without
bringing the level of their complicity to the level of responsibility
defined above; or who are imputed with knowledge relating to the
enforced disappearance and who carry the burden of disclosure; or
those who carry, but have failed to discharge, the burden of
extraordinary diligence in the investigation of the enforced
disappearance. In all these cases, the issuance of the Writ of
Amparo is justified by our primary goal of addressing the
disappearance, so that the life of the victim is preserved and his
liberty and security are restored.

We highlight this nature of a Writ of Amparo case at the outset to


stress that the unique situations that call for the issuance of the
writ, as well as the considerations and measures necessary to
address these situations, may not at all be the same as the standard
measures and procedures in ordinary court actions and
proceedings. In this sense, the Rule on the Writ of Amparo
(Amparo Rule) issued by this Court is unique. The Amparo Rule
should be read, too, as a work in progress, as its directions and
finer points remain to evolve through time and jurisprudence and
through the substantive laws that Congress may promulgate.

I. Sufficiency in form and substance

In questioning the sufficiency in form and substance of the


respondentÊs Amparo petition, the petitioners contend that the
petition violated Section 5(c), (d), and (e) of the Amparo Rule.

A petition for the Writ of Amparo shall be signed and verified and
shall allege, among others (in terms of the portions the petitioners
cite):
(c) The right to life, liberty and security of the aggrieved party
violated or threatened with violation by an unlawful act or
omission of the respondent, and how such threat or violation is
committed with the attendant circumstances detailed in supporting
affidavits;

(d) The investigation conducted, if any, specifying the names,


personal circumstances, and addresses of the investigating
authority or individuals, as well as the manner and conduct of the
investigation, together with any report;

(e) The actions and recourses taken by the petitioner to determine


the fate or whereabouts of the aggrieved party and the identity of
the person responsible for the threat, act or omission.”
A. There is compliance with §5(c)
The framers of the Amparo Rule never intended Section 5(c) to be
complete in every detail in stating the threatened or actual
violation of a victimÊs rights. As in any other initiatory pleading,
the pleader must of course state the ultimate facts constituting the
cause of action, omitting the evidentiary details. In an Amparo
petition, however, this requirement must be read in light of the
nature and purpose of the proceeding, which addresses a situation
of uncertainty; the petitioner may not be able to describe with
certainty how the victim exactly disappeared, or who actually
acted to kidnap, abduct or arrest him or her, or where the
victim is detained, because these information may purposely be
hidden or covered up by those who caused the disappearance.
In this type of situation, to require the level of specificity, detail
and precision that the petitioners apparently want to read into the
Amparo Rule is to make this Rule a token gesture of judicial
concern for violations of the constitutional rights to life, liberty
and security. To read the Rules of Court requirement on pleadings
while addressing the unique Amparo situation, the test in reading
the petition should be to determine whether it contains the
details available to the petitioner under the circumstances,
while presenting a cause of action showing a violation of the
victimÊs rights to life, liberty and security through State or
private party action. The petition should likewise be read in its
totality, rather than in terms of its isolated component parts, to
determine if the required elements·namely, of the disappearance,
the State or private action, and the actual or threatened violations
of the rights to life, liberty or security·are present.
In the present case, the petition amply recites in its paragraphs 4 to
11 the circumstances under which Tagitis suddenly dropped out of
sight after engaging in normal activities, and thereafter was
nowhere to be found despite efforts to locate him. The petition
alleged, too, under its paragraph 7, in relation to paragraphs 15 and
16, that according to reliable information, police operatives were
the perpetrators of the abduction. It also clearly alleged how
TagitisÊ rights to life, liberty and security were violated when he
was „forcibly taken and boarded on a motor vehicle by a couple of
burly men believed to be police intelligence operatives,‰ and then
taken „into custody by the respondentsÊ police intelligence
operatives since October 30, 2007, specifically by the CIDG, PNP
Zamboanga City, x x x held against his will in an earnest attempt
of the police to involve and connect [him] with different terrorist
groups. ‰ 77 These allegations, in our view, properly pleaded
ultimate facts within the pleaderÊs knowledge about TagitisÊ
disappearance, the participation by agents of the State in this
disappearance, the failure of the State to release Tagitis or to
provide sufficient information about his whereabouts, as well as
the actual violation of his right to liberty

If a defect can at all be attributed to the petition, this defect is


its lack of supporting affidavit, as required by Section 5(c) of
the Amparo Rule. Owing to the summary nature of the
proceedings for the writ and to facilitate the resolution of the
petition, the Amparo Rule incorporated the requirement for
supporting affidavits, with the annotation that these can be used as
the affiantÊs direct testimony. This requirement, however,
should not be read as an absolute one that necessarily leads to
the dismissal of the petition if not strictly followed. Where, as
in this case, the petitioner has substantially complied with the
requirement by submitting a verified petition sufficiently
detailing the facts relied upon, the strict need for the sworn
statement that an affidavit represents is essentially fulfilled.
We note that the failure to attach the required affidavits was
fully cured when the respondent and her witness (Mrs. Talbin)
personally testified in the CA hearings held on January 7 and
17 and February 18, 2008 to swear to and flesh out the
allegations of the petition. Thus, even on this point, the petition
cannot be faulted.

B. There is compliance with §5(d)

Section 5(d) of the Amparo Rule requires that prior investigation


of an alleged disappearance must have been made, specifying the
manner and results of the investigation. Effectively, this
requirement seeks to establish at the earliest opportunity the
level of diligence the public authorities undertook in relation
with the reported disappearance.79 We reject the petitionersÊ
argument that the respondentÊs petition did not comply with the
Section 5(d) requirements of the Amparo Rule, as the petition
specifies in its paragraph 11 that Kunnong and his companions
immediately reported TagitisÊ disappearance to the police
authorities in Jolo, Sulu as soon as they were relatively certain that
he indeed had disappeared. The police, however, gave them the
„ready answer‰ that Tagitis could have been abducted by the Abu
Sayyaf group or other anti- government groups. The respondent
also alleged in paragraphs 17 and 18 of her petition that she filed a
„complaint‰ with the PNP Police Station in Cotobato and in Jolo,
but she was told of „an intriguing tale ‰ by the police that her
husband was having „a good time with another woman. ‰ The
disappearance was alleged to have been reported, too, to no less
than the Governor of the ARMM, followed by the respondentÊs
personal inquiries that yielded the factual bases for her petition

These allegations, to our mind, sufficiently specify that reports


have been made to the police authorities, and that investigations
should have followed. That the petition did not state the
manner and results of the investigation that the Amparo Rule
requires, but rather generally stated the inaction of the police,
their failure to perform their duty to investigate, or at the very
least, their reported failed efforts, should not be a reflection on
the completeness of the petition. To require the respondent to
elaborately specify the names, personal circumstances, and
addresses of the investigating authority, as well the manner
and conduct of the investigation is an overly strict
interpretation of Section 5(d), given the respondentÊs
frustrations in securing an investigation with meaningful
results. Under these circumstances, we are more than satisfied
that the allegations of the petition on the investigations
undertaken are sufficiently complete for purposes of bringing
the petition forward.

C. There is compliance with §5(e)


Section 5(e) is in the Amparo Rule to prevent the use of a
petition·that otherwise is not supported by sufficient allegations to
constitute a proper cause of action·as a means to „fish ‰ for
evidence. The petitioners contend that the respondentÊs petition
did not specify what „legally available efforts were taken by the
respondent,‰ and that there was an „undue haste‰ in the filing of
the petition when, instead of cooperating with authorities, the
respondent immediately invoked the CourtÊs intervention.

We do not see the respondentÊs petition as the petitioners view it.


Section 5(e) merely requires that the Amparo petitioner (the
respondent in the present case) allege „the actions and recourses
taken to determine the fate or whereabouts of he aggrieved party
and the identity of the person responsible for the threat, act or
omission.‰

The respondentÊs petition duly outlined the actions she had taken
and the frustrations she encountered, thus compelling her to file
her petition.

Based on these considerations, we rule that the respondentÊs


petition for the Writ of Amparo is sufficient in form and substance
and that the Court of Appeals had every reason to proceed with its
consideration of the case.

II. Enforced Disappearances

The phenomenon of enforced disappearance arising from State


action first attracted notice in Adolf HitlerÊs Nact und Nebel
Erlass or Night and Fog Decree of December 7, 1941. The Third
ReichÊs Night and Fog Program, a State policy, was directed at
persons in occupied territories „endangering German security ‰ ;
they were transported secretly to Germany where they disappeared
without a trace. In order to maximize the desired intimidating
effect, the policy prohibited government officials from providing
information about the fate of these targeted persons. In the mid-
1970s, the phenomenon of enforced disappearances resurfaced,
shocking and outraging the world when individuals, numbering
anywhere from 6,000 to 24,000, were reported to have
„disappeared‰ during the military regime in Argentina. Enforced
disappearances spread in Latin America, and the issue became an
international concern when the world noted its widespread and
systematic use by State security forces in that continent under
Operation Condor and during the Dirty War in the 1970s and
1980s. The escalation of the practice saw political activists secretly
arrested, tortured, and killed as part of governmentsÊ counter-
insurgency campaigns. As this form of political brutality became
routine elsewhere in the continent, the Latin American media
standardized the term „disappearance ‰ to describe the
phenomenon. The victims of enforced disappearances were called
the „desaparecidos,‰ which literally means the „disappeared ones.

In general, there are three different kinds of „disappearance ‰


cases:
1) those of people arrested without witnesses or without positive
identification of the arresting agents and are never found again;
2) those of prisoners who are usually arrested without an
appropriate warrant and held in complete isolation for weeks or
months while their families are unable to discover their
whereabouts and the military authorities deny having them in
custody until they eventually reappear in one detention center or
another; and
3) those of victims of „salvaging ‰ who have disappeared until
their lifeless bodies are later discovered.

A. Enforced disappearances under Philippine law


The Amparo Rule expressly provides that the „writ shall cover
extralegal killings and enforced disappearances or threats thereof.
‰ We note that although the writ specifically covers „enforced
disappearances,‰ this concept is neither defined nor penalized in
this jurisdiction. The records of the Supreme Court Committee on
the Revision of Rules (Committee) reveal that the drafters of the
Amparo Rule initially considered providing an elemental
definition of the concept of enforced disappearance: x x x In the
end, the Committee took cognizance of several bills filed in the
House of Representatives and in the Senate on extrajudicial
killings and enforced disappearances, and resolved to do away
with a clear textual definition of these terms in the Rule. The
Committee instead focused on the nature and scope of the concerns
within its power to address and provided the appropriate remedy
therefor, mindful that an elemental definition may intrude into the
ongoing legislative efforts. As the law now stands, extrajudicial
killings and enforced disappearances in this jurisdiction are
not crimes penalized separately from the component criminal
acts undertaken to carry out these killings and enforced
disappearances and are now penalized under the Revised
Penal Code and special laws. The simple reason is that the
Legislature has not spoken on the matter; the determination of
what acts are criminal and what the corresponding penalty
these criminal acts should carry are matters of substantive law
that only the Legislature has the power to enact under the
countryÊs constitutional scheme and power structure.

Even without the benefit of directly applicable substantive laws on


extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances, however, the
Supreme Court is not powerless to act under its own constitutional
mandate to promulgate „rules concerning the protection and
enforcement of constitutional rights, pleading, practice and
procedure in all courts,‰ since extrajudicial killings and enforced
disappearances, by their nature and purpose, constitute State or
private party violation of the constitutional rights of individuals to
life, liberty and security. Although the CourtÊs power is strictly
procedural and as such does not diminish, increase or modify
substantive rights, the legal protection that the Court can provide
can be very meaningful through the procedures it sets in
addressing extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances. The
Court, through its procedural rules, can set the procedural
standards and thereby directly compel the public authorities to act
on actual or threatened violations of constitutional rights. To state
the obvious, judicial intervention can make a difference·even if
only procedurally·in a situation when the very same investigating
public authorities may have had a hand in the threatened or actual
violations of constitutional rights.

Lest this Court intervention be misunderstood, we clarify once


again that we do not rule on any issue of criminal culpability
for the extrajudicial killing or enforced disappearance. This is
an issue that requires criminal action before our criminal
courts based on our existing penal laws. Our intervention is in
determining whether an enforced disappearance has taken
place and who is responsible or accountable for this
disappearance, and to define and impose the appropriate
remedies to address it.

The burden for the public authorities to discharge in these


situations, under the Rule on the Writ of Amparo, is twofold.

The first is to ensure that all efforts at disclosure and investigation


are undertaken under pain of indirect contempt from this Court
when governmental efforts are less than what the individual
situations require.

The second is to address the disappearance, so that the life of the


victim is preserved and his or her liberty and security restored. In
these senses, our orders and directives relative to the writ are
continuing efforts that are not truly terminated until the
extrajudicial killing or enforced disappearance is fully addressed
by the complete determination of the fate and the whereabouts of
the victim, by the production of the disappeared person and the
restoration of his or her liberty and security, and, in the proper
case, by the commencement of criminal action against the guilty
parties.

Separately from the Constitution (but still pursuant to its terms),


the Court is guided, in acting on Amparo cases, by the reality that
the Philippines is a member of the UN, bound by its Charter and
by the various conventions we signed and ratified, particularly the
conventions touching on humans rights. Under the UN Charter, the
Philippines pledged to „promote universal respect for, and
observance of, human rights and fundamental freedoms for all
without distinctions as to race, sex, language or religion. ‰ 112
Although no universal agreement has been reached on the precise
extent of the „human rights and fundamental freedoms ‰
guaranteed to all by the Charter,113 it was the UN itself that issued
the Declaration on enforced disappearance.

While the Philippines is not yet formally bound by the terms of


the Convention on enforced disappearance (or by the specific
terms of the Rome Statute) and has not formally declared
enforced disappearance as a specific crime, the above recital
shows that enforced disappearance as a State practice has been
repudiated by the international community, so that the ban on
it is now a generally accepted principle of international law,
which we should consider a part of the law of the land, and
which we should act upon to the extent already allowed under
our laws and the international conventions that bind us.

B. Evidentiary Difficulties Posed by the Unique Nature of an


Enforced Disappearance

Before going into the issue of whether the respondent has


discharged the burden of proving the allegations of the petition for
the Writ of Amparo by the degree of proof required by the Amparo
Rule, we shall discuss briefly the unique evidentiary difficulties
presented by enforced disappearance cases; these difficulties form
part of the setting that the implementation of the Amparo Rule
shall encounter.

These difficulties largely arise because the State itself· the party
whose involvement is alleged·investigates enforced
disappearances. Past experiences in other jurisdictions show that
the evidentiary difficulties are generally threefold:

First, there may be a deliberate concealment of the identities of the


direct perpetrators.

Second, deliberate concealment of pertinent evidence of the


disappearance is a distinct possibility; the central piece of evidence
in an enforced disappearance ·i.e., the corpus delicti or the
victimÊs body·is usually concealed to effectively thwart the start
of any investigation or the progress of one that may have begun.

Third is the element of denial; in many cases, the State authorities


deliberately deny that the enforced disappearance ever occurred.

C. Evidence and burden of proof in enforced disappearances


cases

Sections 13, 17 and 18 of the Amparo Rule define the nature of an


Amparo proceeding and the degree and burden of proof the parties
to the case carry.

These characteristics — namely, of being summary and the use of


substantial evidence as the required level of proof (in contrast to
the usual preponderance of evidence or proof beyond reasonable
doubt in court proceedings) — reveal the clear intent of the
framers of the Amparo Rule to have the equivalent of an
administrative proceeding, albeit judicially conducted, in
addressing Amparo situations. The standard of diligence required·
the duty of public officials and employees to observe extraordinary
diligence·point, too, to the extraordinary measures expected in the
protection of constitutional rights and in the consequent handling
and investigation of extrajudicial killings and enforced
disappearance cases.

Thus, in these proceedings, the Amparo petitioner needs only to


properly comply with the substance and form requirements of a
Writ of Amparo petition, as discussed above, and prove the
allegations by substantial evidence. Once a rebuttable case has
been proven, the respondents must then respond and prove their
defenses based on the standard of diligence required. The
rebuttable case, of course, must show that an enforced
disappearance took place under circumstances showing a violation
of the victimÊs constitutional rights to life, liberty or security, and
the failure on the part of the investigating authorities to
appropriately respond.

In Secretary of Defense v. Manalo,152 which was the CourtÊs first


petition for a Writ of Amparo, we recognized that the full and
exhaustive proceedings that the substantial evidence standard
regularly requires do not need to apply due to the summary
nature of Amparo proceedings.
Velasquez stresses the lesson that flexibility is necessary under the
unique circumstances that enforced disappearance cases pose to
the courts; to have an effective remedy, the standard of evidence
must be responsive to the evidentiary difficulties faced. On the one
hand, we cannot be arbitrary in the admission and appreciation of
evidence, as arbitrariness entails violation of rights and cannot be
used as an effective counter-measure; we only compound the
problem if a wrong is addressed by the commission of another
wrong. On the other hand, we cannot be very strict in our
evidentiary rules and cannot consider evidence the way we do in
the usual criminal and civil cases; precisely, the proceedings before
us are administrative in nature where, as a rule, technical rules of
evidence are not strictly observed. Thus, while we must follow the
substantial evidence rule, we must observe flexibility in
considering the evidence we shall take into account.

The fair and proper rule, to our mind, is to consider all the pieces
of evidence adduced in their totality, and to consider any evidence
otherwise inadmissible under our usual rules to be admissible if it
is consistent with the admissible evidence adduced. In other words,
we reduce our rules to the most basic test of reason·i.e., to the
relevance of the evidence to the issue at hand and its
consistency with all other pieces of adduced evidence. Thus,
even hearsay evidence can be admitted if it satisfies this basic
minimum test.

III. The respondents have proven that they are entitled to the
privilege of the writ of amparo
The Convention defines enforced disappearance as „the arrest,
detention, abduction or any other form of deprivation of liberty by
agents of the State or by persons or groups of persons acting with
the authorization, support or acquiescence of the State, followed
by a refusal to acknowledge the deprivation of liberty or by
concealment of the fate or whereabouts of the disappeared person,
which place such a person outside the protection of the law.‰

Under this definition, the elements that constitute enforced


disappearance are essentially fourfold:
(a) arrest, detention, abduction or any form of deprivation of
liberty;
(b) carried out by agents of the State or persons or groups of
persons acting with the authorization, support or acquiescence of
the State;
(c) followed by a refusal to acknowledge the detention, or a
concealment of the fate of the disappeared person; and
(d) placement of the disappeared person outside the protection of
the law.

We find no direct evidence indicating how the victim actually


disappeared. The direct evidence at hand only shows that Tagitis
went out of the ASY Pension House after depositing his room key
with the hotel desk and was never seen nor heard of again. The
undisputed conclusion, however, from all concerned·the petitioner,
TagitisÊ colleagues and even the police authorities·is that Tagistis
disappeared under mysterious circumstances and was never seen
again. The respondent injected the causal element in her petition
and testimony, as we shall discuss below.

We likewise find no direct evidence showing that operatives of


PNP CIDG Zamboanga abducted or arrested Tagitis. If at all, only
the respondentÊs allegation that Tagitis was under CIDG
Zamboanga custody stands on record, but it is not supported by
any other evidence, direct or circumstantial.

In her direct testimony, the respondent pointed to two sources of


information as her bases for her allegation that Tagitis had been
placed under government custody (in contrast with CIDG
Zamboanga custody). The first was an unnamed friend in
Zamboanga (later identified as Col. Ancanan), who occupied a
high position in the military and who allegedly mentioned that
Tagitis was in good hands. Nothing came out of this claim, as both
the respondent herself and her witness, Mrs. Talbin, failed to
establish that Col. Ancanan gave them any information that Tagitis
was in government custody.

The more specific and productive source of information was Col.


Kasim, whom the respondent, together with her witness Mrs.
Talbin, met in Camp Katitipan in Davao City.

Col. Kasim never denied that he met with the respondent and
her friends, and that he provided them information based on
the input of an unnamed asset. He simply claimed in his
testimony that the „informal letter ‰ he received from his
informant in Sulu did not indicate that Tagitis was in the
custody of the CIDG. He also stressed that the information he
provided the respondent was merely a „raw report ‰ from
„barangay intelligence ‰ that still needed confirmation and
„follow up‰ as to its veracity.

Based on these considerations and the unique evidentiary


situation in enforced disappearance cases, we hold it duly
established that Col. Kasim informed the respondent and her
friends, based on the informantÊs letter, that Tagitis, reputedly
a liaison for the JI and who had been under surveillance since
January 2007, was „in good hands ‰ and under custodial
investigation for complicity with the JI after he was seen
talking to one Omar Patik and a certain „Santos‰ of Bulacan,
a „Balik Islam‰ charged with terrorism. The respondentÊs and
Mrs. TalbinÊs testimonies cannot simply be defeated by Col.
KasimÊs plain denial and his claim that he had destroyed his
informantÊs letter, the critical piece of evidence that supports or
negates the partiesÊ conflicting claims. Col. KasimÊs admitted
destruction of this letter· effectively, a suppression of this
evidence·raises the presumption that the letter, if produced, would
be proof of what the respondent claimed.171 For brevity, we shall
call the evidence of what Col. Kasim reported to the respondent to
be the „Kasim evidence.‰

Given this evidence, our next step is to decide whether we can


accept this evidence, in lieu of direct evidence, as proof that the
disappearance of Tagitis was due to action with government
participation, knowledge or consent and that he was held for
custodial investigation. We note in this regard that Col. Kasim was
never quoted to have said that the custodial investigation was by
the CIDG Zamboanga. The Kasim evidence only implies
government intervention through the use of the term „custodial
investigation,‰ and does not at all point to CIDG Zamboanga as
TagitisÊ custodian.

Strictly speaking, we are faced here with a classic case of


hearsay evidence·i.e., evidence whose probative value is not
based on the personal knowledge of the witnesses (the
respondent, Mrs. Talbin and Col. Kasim himself) but on the
knowledge of some other person not on the witness stand (the
informant)

To say that this piece of evidence is incompetent and inadmissible


evidence of what it substantively states is to acknowledge·as the
petitioners effectively suggest·that in the absence of any direct
evidence, we should simply dismiss the petition. To our mind, an
immediate dismissal for this reason is no different from a
statement that the Amparo Rule·despite its terms·is ineffective, as
it cannot allow for the special evidentiary difficulties that are
unavoidably present in Amparo situations, particularly in
extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances. The Amparo
Rule was not promulgated with this intent or with the intent to
make it a token gesture of concern for constitutional rights. It
was promulgated to provide effective and timely remedies,
using and profiting from local and international experiences in
extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances, as the
situation may require. Consequently, we have no choice but to
meet the evidentiary difficulties inherent in enforced
disappearances with the flexibility that these difficulties
demand.

We glean from all these pieces of evidence and developments a


consistency in the governmentÊs denial of any complicity in the
disappearance of Tagitis, disrupted only by the report made by Col.
Kasim to the respondent at Camp Katitipan. Even Col. Kasim,
however, eventually denied that he ever made the disclosure that
Tagitis was under custodial investigation for complicity in
terrorism. Another distinctive trait that runs through these
developments is the governmentÊs dismissive approach to the
disappearance, starting from the initial response by the Jolo police
to KunnongÊs initial reports of the disappearance, to the responses
made to the respondent when she herself reported and inquired
about her husbandÊs disappearance, and even at Task Force Tagitis
itself.

As the CA found through Task Force Tagitis, the investigation was


at best haphazard since the authorities were looking for a man
whose picture they initially did not even secure. The returns and
reports made to the CA fared no better, as the CIDG efforts
themselves were confined to searching for custodial records of
Tagitis in their various departments and divisions. To point out the
obvious, if the abduction of Tagitis was a „black ‰ operation
because it was unrecorded or officially unauthorized, no record of
custody would ever appear in the CIDG records; Tagitis, too,
would not be detained in the usual police or CIDG detention
places. In sum, none of the reports on record contains any
meaningful results or details on the depth and extent of the
investigation made. To be sure, reports of top police officials
indicating the personnel and units they directed to investigate
can never constitute exhaustive and meaningful investigation,
or equal detailed investigative reports of the activities
undertaken to search for Tagitis. Indisputably, the police
authorities from the very beginning failed to come up to the
extraordinary diligence that the Amparo Rule requires.

IV. Conclusion
Based on these considerations, we conclude that Col. KasimÊs
disclosure, made in an unguarded moment, unequivocally point to
some government complicity in the disappearance. The consistent
but unfounded denials and the haphazard investigations cannot but
point to this conclusion. For why would the government and its
officials engage in their chorus of concealment if the intent had not
been to deny what they already knew of the disappearance? Would
not an in-depth and thorough investigation that at least credibly
determined the fate of Tagitis be a feather in the governmentÊs cap
under the circumstances of the disappearance? From this
perspective, the evidence and developments, particularly the
Kasim evidence, already establish a concrete case of enforced
disappearance that the Amparo Rule covers. From the prism of the
UN Declaration, heretofore cited and quoted, the evidence at hand
and the developments in this case confirm the fact of the enforced
disappearance and government complicity, under a background of
consistent and unfounded haphazard handling. The disappearance
as well effectively placed Tagitis outside the protection of the
law·a situation that will subsist unless this Court acts.

Following the lead of this Turkish experience·adjusted to the


Philippine legal setting and the Amparo remedy this Court has
established, as applied to the unique facts and developments of this
case·we believe and so hold that the government in general,
through the PNP and the PNP-CIDG, and in particular, the Chiefs
of these organizations together with Col. Kasim, should be held
fully accountable for the enforced disappearance of Tagitis. The
PNP and CIDG are accountable because Section 24 of Republic
Act No. 6975, otherwise known as the „PNP Law,‰ specifies the
PNP as the governmental office with the mandate „to investigate
and prevent crimes, effect the arrest of criminal offenders, bring
offenders to justice and assist in their prosecution. ‰ The PNP-
CIDG, as Col. Jose Volpane Pante (then Chief of CIDG Region 9)
testified, is the „investigative arm‰ of the PNP and is mandated to
„investigate and prosecute all cases involving violations of the
Revised Penal Code, particularly those considered as heinous
crimes.‰ Under the PNP organizational structure, the PNP-CIDG
is tasked to investigate all major crimes involving violations of the
Revised Penal Code and operates against organized crime groups,
unless the President assigns the case exclusively to the National
Bureau of Investigation (NBI). No indication exists in this case
showing that the President ever directly intervened by assigning
the investigation of TagitisÊ disappearance exclusively to the NBI.
Given their mandates, the PNP and PNP-CIDG officials and
members were the ones who were remiss in their duties when the
government completely failed to exercise the extraordinary
diligence that the Amparo Rule requires. We hold these
organization accountable through their incumbent Chiefs who,
under this Decision, shall carry the personal responsibility of
seeing to it that extraordinary diligence, in the manner the Amparo
Rule requires, is applied in addressing the enforced disappearance
of Tagitis.

We hold Col. Kasim accountable for his failure to disclose under


oath information relating to the enforced disappearance. For the
purpose of this accountability, we order that Col. Kasim be
impleadead as a party to this case. The PNP is similarly held
accountable for the suppression of vital information that Col.
Kasim could and did not provide, and, as the entity with direct
authority over Col. Kasim, is held with the same obligation of
disclosure that Col. Kasim carries. We shall deal with Col.
KasimÊs suppression of evidence under oath when we finally
close this case under the process outlined below.

To fully enforce the Amparo remedy, we refer this case back to the
CA for appropriate proceedings directed at the monitoring of the
PNP and the PNP- CIDG investigations and actions, and the
validation of their results through hearings the CA may deem
appropriate to conduct. For purposes of these investigations, the
PNP/PNP-CIDG shall initially present to the CA a plan of action
for further investigation, periodically reporting the detailed results
of its investigation to the CA for its consideration and action. On
behalf of this Court, the CA shall pass upon: the need for the PNP
and the PNP-CIDG to make disclosures of matters known to them
as indicated in this Decision and as further CA hearings may
indicate; the petitionersÊ submissions; the sufficiency of their
investigative efforts; and submit to this Court a quarterly report
containing its actions and recommendations, copy furnished the
petitioners and the respondent, with the first report due at the end
of the first quarter counted from the finality of this Decision. The
PNP and the PNP-CIDG shall have one (1) full year to undertake
their investigation. The CA shall submit its full report for the
consideration of this Court at the end of the 4th quarter counted
from the finality of this Decision.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, we DENY the petitionersÊ


petition for review on certiorari for lack of merit, and AFFIRM the
decision of the Court of Appeals dated

6. De Lima v. Gatdula, G.R. No. 204528, 19 Feb. 2013

Facts:
From the records, it appears that on 27 February 2012, respondent
Magtanggol B. Gatdula filed a Petition for the Issuance of a Writ
of Amparo in the Regional Trial Court of Manila.2 This case was
docketed as In the Matter of the Petition for Issuance of Writ of
Amparo of Atty. Magtanggol B. Gatdula, SP No. 12-127405. It
was raffled to the sala of Judge Silvino T. Pampilo, Jr. on the same
day. The Amparo was directed against petitioners Justice
Secretary Leila M. De Lima, Director Nonnatus R. Rojas and
Deputy Director Reynaldo O. Esmeralda of the National
Bureau of Investigation (DE LIMA, ET AL. for brevity).
Gatdula wanted De Lima, et al. „to cease and desist from
framing up Petitioner [Gatdula] for the fake ambush incident
by filing bogus charges of Frustrated Msuccorurder against
Petitioner [Gatdula] in relation to the alleged ambush incident.
Instead of deciding on whether to issue a Writ of Amparo, the
judge issued summons and ordered De Lima, et al. to file an
Answer.4 He also set the case for hearing on 1 March 2012. The
hearing was held allegedly for determining whether a temporary
protection order may be issued. During that hearing, counsel for
De Lima, et al. manifested that a Return, not an Answer, is
appropriate for Amparo cases.5 In an Order dated 2 March
2012,6 Judge Pampilo insisted that „[s]ince no writ has been
issued, return is not the required pleading but answer.‰7 The
judge noted that the Rules of Court apply suppletorily in Amparo
cases.8 He opined that the Revised Rules of Summary
Procedure applied and thus required an Answer.9 Judge
Pampilo proceeded to conduct a hearing on the main case on 7
March 2012.10 Even without a Return nor an Answer, he
ordered the parties to file their respective memoranda within
five (5) working days after that hearing. Since the period to file
an Answer had not yet lapsed by then, the judge also decided
that the memorandum of De Lima, et al. would be filed in lieu
of their Answer.

RTC rendered a Decision granting the issuance of the Writ of


Amparo. It also granted the interim reliefs prayed for, namely:
temporary protection, production and inspection orders. The
production and inspection orders were in relation to the evidence
and reports involving an on-going investigation of the attempted
assassination of Deputy Director Esmeralda. It is not clear from
the records how these pieces of evidence may be related to the
alleged threat to the life, liberty or security of the respondent
Gatdula.

Petitioners Sec. De Lima, et al. thus came to this Court assailing


the RTC „Decision‰ dated 20 March 2012 through a Petition for
Review on Certiorari (With Very Urgent Application for the
Issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order/Writ of Preliminary
Injunction) via Rule 45, as enunciated in Section 19 of the Rule on
the Writ of Amparo (A.M. No. 07-9- 12-SC, 25 September 2007)

Issue:
W/N the RTC erred in requiring an Answer, in applying the Rules
of summary Procedure, and in holding a hearing on the main case
prior to the issuance of the writ and the filing of the return - Yes
W/N Petitioner erred in the mode of appeal - Yes

Held:
Yes.

The remedy of the Writ of Amparo is an equitable and


extraordinary remedy to safeguard the right of the people to life,
liberty and security as enshrined in the 1987 Constitution. The
Rule on the Writ of Amparo was issued as an exercise of the
Supreme CourtÊs power to promulgate rules concerning the
protection and enforcement of constitutional rights. It aims to
address concerns such as, among others, extrajudicial killings and
enforced disappearances.

Due to the delicate and urgent nature of these controversies, the


procedure was devised to afford swift but decisive relief. It is
initiated through a petition to be filed in a Regional Trial Court,
Sandiganbayan, the Court of Appeals, or the Supreme Court.

The judge or justice then makes an „immediate‰ evaluation of


the facts as alleged in the petition and the affidavits submitted
„with the attendant circumstances detailed.‰

After evaluation, the judge has the option to issue the Writ of
Amparo or immediately dismiss the case. Dismissal is proper if
the petition and the supporting affidavits do not show that the
petitionerÊs right to life, liberty or security is under threat or the
acts complained of are not unlawful. On the other hand, the
issuance of the writ itself sets in motion presumptive judicial
protection for the petitioner.

The court compels the respondents to appear before a court of law


to show whether the grounds for more permanent protection and
interim reliefs are necessary. The respondents are required to file a
Return after the issuance of the writ through the clerk of court.
The Return serves as the responsive pleading to the petition.24
Unlike an Answer, the Return has other purposes aside from
identifying the issues in the case. Respondents are also required to
detail the actions they had taken to determine the fate or
whereabouts of the aggrieved party.

If the respondents are public officials or employees, they are also


required to state the actions they had taken to:
(i) verify the identity of the aggrieved party;
(ii) recover and preserve evidence related to the death or
disappearance of the person identified in the petition;
(iii) identify witnesses and obtain statements concerning the death
or disappearance;
(iv) determine the cause, manner, location, and time of death or
disappearance as well as any pattern or practice that may have
brought about the death or disappearance; and
(v) bring the suspected offenders before a competent court.25

Clearly these matters are important to the judge so that s/he can
calibrate the means and methods that will be required to further the
protections, if any, that will be due to the petitioner.

There will be a summary hearing26 only after the Return is filed


to determine the merits of the petition and whether interim reliefs
are warranted. If the Return is not filed, the hearing will be done
ex parte.27 After the hearing, the court will render the judgment
within ten (10) days from the time the petition is submitted for
decision.

If the allegations are proven with substantial evidence, the court


shall grant the privilege of the writ and such reliefs as may be
proper and appropriate. The judgment should contain measures
which the judge views as essential for the continued protection of
the petitioner in the Amparo case. These measures must be
detailed enough so that the judge may be able to verify and
monitor the actions taken by the respondents. It is this judgment
that could be subject to appeal to the Supreme Court via Rule
45. After the measures have served their purpose, the judgment
will be satisfied. In Amparo cases, this is when the threats to the
petitionerÊs life, liberty and security cease to exist as evaluated by
the court that renders the judgment. Parenthetically, the case may
also be terminated through consolidation should a subsequent case
be filed·either criminal or civil. Until the full satisfaction of the
judgment, the extraordinary remedy of Amparo allows vigilant
judicial monitoring to ensure the protection of constitutional rights.

The „Decision ‰ dated 20 March 2012 assailed by the


petitioners could not be the judgment or final order that is
appealable under Section 19 of the Rule on the Writ of
Amparo. This „Decision‰ pertained to the issuance of the writ
under Section 6 of the Rule on the Writ of Amparo, not the
judgment under Section 18. The „Decision ‰ is thus an
interlocutory order, as suggested by the fact that temporary
protection, production and inspection orders were given together
with the decision. The temporary protection, production and
inspection orders are interim reliefs that may be granted by the
court upon filing of the petition but before final judgment is
rendered.

The confusion of the parties arose due to the procedural


irregularities in the RTC.

First, the insistence on filing of an Answer was inappropriate. It is


the Return that serves as the responsive pleading for petitions for
the issuance of Writs of Amparo. The requirement to file an
Answer is contrary to the intention of the Court to provide a
speedy remedy to those whose right to life, liberty and security are
violated or are threatened to be violated. In utter disregard of the
Rule on the Writ of Amparo,

It is clear from the Rule on Summary Procedure that this type of


summary procedure only applies to MTC/MTCC/MCTCs. It is
mind- boggling how this rule could possibly apply to proceedings
in an RTC. Aside from that, this Court limited the application of
summary procedure to certain civil and criminal cases. A writ of
Amparo is a special proceeding. It is a remedy by which a party
seeks to establish a status, a right or particular fact. It is not a civil
nor a criminal action, hence, the application of the Revised Rule
on Summary Procedure is seriously misplaced.

The second irregularity was the holding of a hearing on the main


case prior to the issuance of the writ and the filing of a Return.
Without a Return, the issues could not have been properly joined.

Worse, is the trial courtÊs third irregularity: it required a


memorandum in lieu of a responsive pleading (Answer) of De
Lima, et al.

The Return in Amparo cases allows the respondents to frame the


issues subject to a hearing. Hence, it should be done prior to the
hearing, not after. A memorandum, on the other hand, is a
synthesis of the claims of the party litigants and is a final pleading
usually required before the case is submitted for decision. One
cannot substitute for the other since these submissions have
different functions in facilitating the suit. More importantly, a
memorandum is a prohibited pleading under the Rule on the
Writ of Amparo.
The privilege of the Writ of Amparo should be distinguished
from the actual order called the Writ of Amparo. The privilege
includes availment of the entire procedure outlined in A.M. No.
07-9-12-SC, the Rule on the Writ of Amparo. After examining
the petition and its attached affidavits, the Return and the
evidence presented in the summary hearing, the judgment
should detail the required acts from the respondents that will
mitigate, if not totally eradicate, the violation of or the threat
to the petitionerÊs life, liberty or security.

A judgment which simply grants „the privilege of the writ ‰


cannot be executed. It is tantamount to a failure of the judge to
intervene and grant judicial succor to the petitioner. Petitions filed
to avail of the privilege of the Writ of Amparo arise out of very
real and concrete circumstances. Judicial responses cannot be as
tragically symbolic or ritualistic as „granting the privilege of the
Writ of Amparo.

The procedural irregularities in the RTC affected the mode of


appeal that petitioners used in elevating the matter to this Court. It
is the responsibility of counsels for the parties to raise issues using
the proper procedure at the right time. Procedural rules are meant
to assist the parties and courts efficiently deal with the substantive
issues pertaining to a case. When it is the judge himself who
disregards the rules of procedure, delay and confusion result.

The Petition for Review is not the proper remedy to assail the
interlocutory order denominated as „Decision ‰ dated 20
March 2012. A Petition for Certiorari, on the other hand, is
prohibited.36 Simply dismissing the present petition, however,
will cause grave injustice to the parties involved. It undermines
the salutary purposes for which the Rule on the Writ of
Amparo were promulgated.

In many instances, the Court adopted a policy of liberally


construing its rules in order to promote a just, speedy and
inexpensive disposition of every action and proceeding. The rules
can be suspended on the following grounds: (1) matters of life,
liberty, honor or property, (2) the existence of special or
compelling circumstances, (3) the merits of the case, (4) a cause
not entirely attributable to the fault or negligence of the party
favored by the suspension of the rules, (5) a lack of any showing
that the review sought is merely frivolous and dilatory, and (6) the
other party will not be unjustly prejudiced thereby.

WHEREFORE, in the interest of justice, as a prophylactic to the


irregularities committed by the trial court judge, and by virtue of
its powers under Article VIII, Section 5 (5) of the Constitution, the
Court RESOLVES to: (1) NULLIFY all orders that are subject of
this Resolution issued by Judge Silvino T. Pampilo, Jr. after
respondent Gatdula filed the Petition for the Issuance of a Writ of
Amparo; (2) DIRECT Judge Pampilo to determine within forty-
eight (48) hours from his receipt of this Resolution whether the
issuance of the Writ of Amparo is proper on the basis of the
petition and its attached affidavits. The Clerk of Court is
DIRECTED to cause the personal service of this Resolution on
Judge Silvino T. Pampilo, Jr. of Branch 26 of the Regional Trial
Court of Manila for his proper guidance together with a
WARNING that further deviation or improvisation from the
procedure set in A.M. No. 07-9-12-SC shall be meted with severe
consequences. SO ORDERED.

7. Rodriguez v. Macapagal- Arroyo, G. R. No. 191805, 15 Nov.


2011

Facts:
Noriel Rodriguez (Rodriguez) is petitioner in G.R. No. 191805 and
respondent in G.R. No. 193160. He is a member of Alyansa Dagiti
Mannalon Iti Cagayan (Kagimungan), a peasant organization
affiliated with Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP).

At the time the events relevant to the present Petitions occurred,


former President Arroyo was the President of the Philippines.
PDG. Verzosa, P/SSupt. Santos, Brig. Gen. De Vera, 1st Lt.
Matutina and Lt. Col. Mina were officers of the Philippine
National Police (PNP). Cruz, Pasicolan and Callagan were Special
Investigators of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) in
Region II.

Rodriguez claims that the military tagged KMP as an enemy of


the State under the Oplan Bantay Laya, making its members
targets of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances.

One day he was abducted, brought to a military camp, and


tortured. He was forced to confess that he was a member of the
NPA. Eventually, he was released to his family and certain
Commission on Human Rights members — Cruz, Pasicolan and
Callagan. The soldiers, under the command allegedly of Matutina,
instructed him not to tell the media.

Rodriguez reached his house in Sta. Ana, Manila at 3:00 a.m. on


18 September 2010. Callagan and two soldiers went inside the
house, and took photographs and a video footage thereof. The
soldiers explained that the photos and videos would serve as
evidence of the fact that Rodriguez and his family were able to
arrive home safely. Despite RodriguezÊs efforts to confront the
soldiers about their acts, they still continued and only left thirty
minutes later.

On 19 September 2009, Dr. Reginaldo Pamugas, a physician


trained by the International Committee on Torture and
Rehabilitation, examined Rodriguez and issued a Medical
Certificate stating that the latter had been a victim of torture.24

Around 7:00 a.m. on 3 November 2010, Rodriguez and his


girlfriend, Aileen Hazel Robles, noticed that several suspicious-
looking men followed them at the Metro Rail Transit (MRT), in
the streets and on a jeepney.

On 7 December 2009, Rodriguez filed before this Court a Petition


for the Writ of Amparo and Petition for the Writ of Habeas
Data with Prayers for Protection Orders, Inspection of Place,
and Production of Documents and Personal Properties dated 2
December 2009.26 T
The petition was filed against former President Arroyo, Gen.
Ibrado, PDG. Versoza, Lt. Gen. Bangit, Major General (Maj. Gen.)
Nestor Z. Ochoa, P/CSupt. Tolentino, P/SSupt. Santos, Col. De
Vera, 1st Lt. Matutina, Calog, George Palacpac (Palacpac), Cruz,
Pasicolan and Callagan. The petition prayed for the following
reliefs:
a. The issuance of the writ of amparo ordering respondents to
desist from violating RodriguezÊs right to life, liberty and security.
b. The issuance of an order to enjoin respondents from doing harm
to or approaching Rodriguez, his family and his witnesses.
c. Allowing the inspection of the detention areas of the
Headquarters of Bravo Co., 5th Infantry Division, Maguing,
Gonzaga, Cagayan and another place near where Rodriguez was
brought.
d. Ordering respondents to produce documents submitted to them
regarding any report on Rodriguez, including operation reports and
provost marshall reports of the 5th Infantry Division, the Special
Operations Group of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP),
prior to, on and subsequent to 6 September 2009.
e. Ordering records pertinent or in any way connected to
Rodriguez, which are in the custody of respondents, to be
expunged, disabused, and forever barred from being used

SC granted the respective writs after finding that the petition


sufficiently alleged that Rodriguez had been abducted, tortured and
later released by members of the 17th Infantry Battalion of the
Philippine Army.28 We likewise ordered respondents therein to
file a verified return on the writs on or before 22 December 2009
and to comment on the petition on or before 4 January 2010.29
Finally, we directed the Court of Appeals to hear the petition on 4
January 2010 and decide on the case within 10 days after its
submission for decision.

On 8 January 2010, respondents therein, through the Office of the


Solicitor General (OSG), filed their Return of the Writ, which was
likewise considered as their comment on the petition.32 In their
Return, respondents therein alleged that Rodriguez had
surrendered to the military on 28 May 2009 after he had been put
under surveillance and identified as „Ka Pepito ‰ by former
rebels.33 According to his military handlers, Corporal (Cpl.) Rodel
B. Cabaccan and Cpl. Julius P. Navarro, Rodriguez was a former
member of the NPA operating in Cagayan Valley.34 Wanting to
bolt from the NPA, he told Cpl. Cabaccan and Cpl. Navarro that he
would help the military in exchange for his protection.35 Upon his
voluntary surrender on 28 May 2009, Rodriguez was made to sign
an Oath of Loyalty and an AgentÊs Agreement/Contract, showing
his willingness to return to society and become a military asset.36
Since then, he acted as a double agent, returning to the NPA to
gather information.37 However, he feared that his NPA comrades
were beginning to suspect him of being an infiltrator.38 Thus, with
his knowledge and consent, the soldiers planned to stage a sham
abduction to erase any suspicion about him being a double
agent.39 Hence, the abduction subject of the instant petition was
conducted.40

Meanwhile, Cruz, Pasicolan and Callagan filed a Consolidated


Return of the Writ dated 15 January 2010,41 alleging that they had
exercised extraordinary diligence in locating Rodriguez,
facilitating his safe turnover to his family and securing their
journey back home to Manila. More specifically, they alleged that,
on 16 September 2009, after Wilma sought their assistance in
ascertaining the whereabouts of her son, Cruz made phone calls to
the military and law enforcement agencies to determine his
location.42 Cruz was able to speak with Lt. Col. Mina, who
confirmed that Rodriguez was in their custody.43 This information
was transmitted to CHR Regional Director Atty. Jimmy P. Baliga.
He, in turn, ordered Cruz, Pasicolan and Callagan to accompany
Wilma to the 17th Infantry Division.44 When the CHR officers,
along with Wilma and Rodel, arrived at the 17th Infantry Battalion
at Masin, Alcala, Cagayan, Brigade Commander Col. de Vera and
Battalion Commander Lt. Col. Mina alleged that Rodriguez had
become one of their assets, as evidenced by the Summary on the
Surrender of Noriel Rodriguez and the latterÊs Contract as
Agent.45 The CHR officers observed his casual and cordial
demeanor with the soldiers.46 In any case, Cruz asked him to raise
his shirt to see if he had been subjected to any maltreatment. Cruz
and Pasicolan did not see any traces of torture. Thereafter,
Rodriguez was released to his family, and they were made to sign a
certification to this effect. During the signing of the document,
herein CHR officers did not witness any threat, intimidation or
force employed against Rodriguez or his family.47 During their
journey back to the home of Rodriguez, the CHR officers observed
that he was very much at ease with his military escorts, especially
with 1st Lt. Matutina.48 Neither was there any force or
intimidation when the soldiers took pictures of his house, as the
taking of photographs was performed with WilmaÊs consent.49
On 12 April 2010, the Court of Appeals rendered its assailed
Decision granting the petition for the writ of amparo and writ of
habeas data.

Issues:
I. Whether the interim reliefs prayed for by Rodriguez may be
granted after the writs of amparo and habeas data have already
been issued in his favor. - No.
II. Whether former President Arroyo should be dropped as a
respondent on the basis of the presidential immunity from suit -
No.
III. Whether the doctrine of command responsibility can be used in
amparo and habeas data cases. - Yes
IV. Whether the rights to life, liberty and property of Rodriguez
were violated or threatened by respondents - Yes

Held:
The writ of amparo is an extraordinary and independent remedy
that provides rapid judicial relief, as it partakes of a summary
proceeding that requires only substantial evidence to make the
appropriate interim and permanent reliefs available to the
petitioner. It is not an action to determine criminal guilt requiring
proof beyond reasonable doubt, or liability for damages requiring
preponderance of evidence, or administrative responsibility
requiring substantial evidence that will require full and exhaustive
proceedings. Rather, it serves both preventive and curative roles in
addressing the problem of extrajudicial killings and enforced
disappearances. It is preventive in that it breaks the expectation
of impunity in the commission of these offenses, and it is
curative in that it facilitates the subsequent punishment of
perpetrators by inevitably leading to subsequent investigation
and action.

Meanwhile, the writ of habeas data provides a judicial remedy to


protect a personÊs right to control information regarding oneself,
particularly in instances where such information is being collected
through unlawful means in order to achieve unlawful ends. As an
independent and summary remedy to protect the right to privacy·
especially the right to informational privacy·the proceedings for
the issuance of the writ of habeas data does not entail any finding
of criminal, civil or administrative culpability. If the allegations in
the petition are proven through substantial evidence, then the Court
may (a) grant access to the database or information; (b) enjoin the
act complained of; or (c) in case the database or information
contains erroneous data or information, order its deletion,
destruction or rectification.

I. No, the interim reliefs prayed for by Rodriguez cannot be


granted after the writs of amparo and habeas data have
already been issued in his favor.

In the petition in G.R. No. 191805, Rodriguez prays for the


issuance of a temporary protection order. It must be underscored
that this interim relief is only available before final judgment.

We held in Yano v. Sanchez68 that „[t]hese provisional reliefs are


intended to assist the court before it arrives at a judicious
determination of the amparo petition.‰ Being interim reliefs, they
can only be granted before a final adjudication of the case is made.
In any case, it must be underscored that the privilege of the writ of
amparo, once granted, necessarily entails the protection of the
aggrieved party. Thus, since we grant petitioner the privilege of the
writ of amparo, there is no need to issue a temporary protection
order independently of the former. The order restricting
respondents from going near Rodriguez is subsumed under the
privilege of the writ.

II. No, President Arroyo should not be dropped as a


respondent on the basis of the presidential immunity from suit.

It bears stressing that since there is no determination of


administrative, civil or criminal liability in amparo and habeas data
proceedings, courts can only go as far as ascertaining
responsibility or accountability for the enforced disappearance or
extrajudicial killing.

The Court of Appeals dismissed the petition with respect to


former President Arroyo on account of her presidential immunity
from suit. Rodriguez contends, though, that she should remain a
respondent in this case to enable the courts to determine whether
she is responsible or accountable therefor. In this regard, it must be
clarified that the Court of AppealsÊ rationale for dropping her
from the list of respondents no longer stands since her presidential
immunity is limited only to her incumbency.

In Estrada v. Desierto,73 we clarified the doctrine that a non-sitting


President does not enjoy immunity from suit, even for acts
committed during the latterÊs tenure. Further, in our Resolution in
Estrada v. Desierto,75 we reiterated that the presidential immunity
from suit exists only in concurrence with the presidentÊs
incumbency.

Applying the foregoing rationale to the case at bar, it is clear that


former President Arroyo cannot use the presidential immunity
from suit to shield herself from judicial scrutiny that would assess
whether, within the context of amparo proceedings, she was
responsible or accountable for the abduction of Rodriguez.

III. Yes, the doctrine of command responsibility can be used in


amparo and habeas data cases.

To attribute responsibility or accountability to former President


Arroyo, Rodriguez contends that the doctrine of command
responsibility may be applied. As we explained in Rubrico v.
Arroyo,77 command responsibility pertains to the „responsibility
of commanders for crimes committed by subordinate members of
the armed forces or other persons subject to their control in
international wars or domestic conflict. ‰ 78 Although originally
used for ascertaining criminal complicity, the command
responsibility doctrine has also found application in civil cases for
human rights abuses.

The doctrine of command responsibility may be used to determine


whether respondents are accountable for and have the duty to
address the abduction of Rodriguez in order to enable the courts to
devise remedial measures to protect his rights. Clearly, nothing
precludes this Court from applying the doctrine of command
responsibility in amparo proceedings to ascertain responsibility
and accountability in extrajudicial killings and enforced
disappearances.

That proceedings under the Rule on the Writ of Amparo do not


determine criminal, civil or administrative liability should not
abate the applicability of the doctrine of command responsibility.

Command responsibility may be loosely applied in amparo cases


in order to identify those accountable individuals that have the
power to effectively implement whatever processes an amparo
court would issue.

Amparo proceedings determine


(a) responsibility, or the extent the actors have been established by
substantial evidence to have participated in whatever way, by
action or omission, in an enforced disappearance, and
(b) accountability, or the measure of remedies that should be
addressed to those
(i) who exhibited involvement in the enforced disappearance
without bringing the level of their complicity to the level of
responsibility defined above; or
(ii) who are imputed with knowledge relating to the enforced
disappearance and who carry the burden of disclosure; or
(iii) those who carry, but have failed to discharge, the burden of
extraordinary diligence in the investigation of the enforced
disappearance.
Thus, although there is no determination of criminal, civil or
administrative liabilities, the doctrine of command responsibility
may nevertheless be applied to ascertain responsibility and
accountability within these foregoing definitions.

a. The President, as the commander-in-chief of the military,


can be held responsible or accountable for extrajudicial
killings and enforced disappearances

Having established the applicability of the doctrine of command


responsibility in amparo proceedings, it must now be resolved
whether the president, as commander-in-chief of the military, can
be held responsible or accountable for extrajudicial killings and
enforced disappearances. We rule in the affirmative.

To hold someone liable under the doctrine of command


responsibility, the following elements must obtain:
a. the existence of a superior-subordinate relationship between the
accused as superior and the perpetrator of the crime as his
subordinate;
b. the superior knew or had reason to know that the crime was
about to be or had been committed; and
c. the superior failed to take the necessary and reasonable
measures to prevent the criminal acts or punish the perpetrators
thereof.

The president, being the commander-in-chief of all armed forces,


necessarily possesses control over the military that qualifies him as
a superior within the purview of the command responsibility
doctrine.

On the issue of knowledge, it must be pointed out that although


international tribunals apply a strict standard of knowledge, i.e.,
actual knowledge, such may nonetheless be established through
circumstantial evidence.87 In the Philippines, a more liberal view
is adopted and superiors may be charged with constructive
knowledge. This view is buttressed by the enactment of Executive
Order No. 226, otherwise known as the Institutionalization of the
Doctrine of ÂCommand ResponsibilityÊ in all Government
Offices, particularly at all Levels of Command in the Philippine
National Police and other Law Enforcement Agencies. Knowledge
of the commission of irregularities, crimes or offenses is presumed
when
(a) the acts are widespread within the government officialÊs area
of jurisdiction;
(b) the acts have been repeatedly or regularly committed within his
area of responsibility; or
(c) members of his immediate staff or office personnel are
involved

Meanwhile, as to the issue of failure to prevent or punish, it is


important to note that as the commander-in- chief of the armed
forces, the president has the power to effectively command, control
and discipline the military.

b. Rodriguez has not proven through substantial evidence that


Former PGMA is responsible or accountable for his abduction.
Rodriguez anchors his argument on a general allegation that on the
basis of the „Melo Commission ‰ and the „Alston Report, ‰
respondents in G.R. No. 191805 already had knowledge of and
information on, and should have known that a climate of enforced
disappearances had been perpetrated on members of the NPA.92

Without even attaching, or at the very least, quoting these reports,


Rodriguez contends that the Melo Report points to rogue military
men as the perpetrators. While the Alston Report states that there
is a policy allowing enforced disappearances and pins the blame on
the President, we do not automatically impute responsibility to
former President Arroyo for each and every count of forcible
disappearance.93

Aside from RodriguezÊs general averments, there is no piece of


evidence that could establish her responsibility or accountability
for his abduction. Neither was there even a clear attempt to show
that she should have known about the violation of his right to life,
liberty or security, or that she had failed to investigate, punish or
prevent it.

IV. Yes, the rights to life, liberty and property of Rodriguez


were violated or threatened by respondents.

The doctrine of totality of evidence in amparo cases was first laid


down in this CourtÊs ruling in Razon:

“The fair and proper rule, to our mind, is to consider all the pieces
of evidence adduced in their totality, and to consider any evidence
otherwise inadmissible under our usual rules to be admissible if it
is consistent with the admissible evidence adduced. In other words,
we reduce our rules to the most basic test of reason·i.e., to the
relevance of the evidence to the issue at hand and its consistency
with all other pieces of adduced evidence. Thus, even hearsay
evidence can be admitted if it satisfies this basic minimum test.”

A careful examination of the records of this case reveals that the


totality of the evidence adduced by Rodriguez indubitably prove
the responsibility and accountability of some respondents in G.R.
No. 191805 for violating his right to life, liberty and security.

a. The petitioners have proven that the soldiers of the 17th


Infantry Battalion, 5th Infantry Division of the military
abducted Rodriguez on 6 September 2009, and detained and
tortured him until 17 September 2009.

After a careful examination of the records of these cases, we are


convinced that the Court of Appeals correctly found sufficient
evidence proving that the soldiers of the 17th Infantry Battalion,
5th Infantry Division of the military abducted Rodriguez on 6
September 2009, and detained and tortured him until 17 September
2009.

RodriguezÊs Sinumpaang Salaysay dated 4 December 2009 was a


meticulous and straightforward account of his horrific ordeal with
the military, detailing the manner in which he was captured and
maltreated on account of his suspected membership in the NPA.
More particularly, the fact of RodriguezÊs abduction was
corroborated by Carlos in his Sinumpaang Salaysay dated 16
September 2009,99 wherein he recounted in detail the
circumstances surrounding the victimÊs capture.

As regards the allegation of torture, the respective Certifications of


Dr. Ramil and Dr. Pamugas validate the physical maltreatment
Rodriguez suffered in the hands of the soldiers of the 17th Infantry
Battalion, 5th Infantry Division.

Dr. Pamugas performed a separate medical examination of


Rodriguez on 19 September 2009, the results of which confirmed
that the injuries suffered by the latter were inflicted through
torture.

If it were true that Rodriguez maintained amicable relations with


the military, then he should have unhesitatingly assured his family
on 17 September 2009 that he was among friends. Instead, he
vigorously pleaded with them to get him out of the military
facility.

Furthermore, the appellate court also properly ruled that aside from
the abduction, detention and torture of Rodriguez, respondents,
specifically 1st Lt. Matutina, had violated and threatened the
formerÊs right to security when they made a visual recording of
his house, as well as the photos of his relatives:

This Court notes that 1Lt. Matutina, by taking the said videos, did
not merely intend to make proofs of the safe arrival of petitioner
and his family in their home. 1Lt. Matutina also desired to instill
fear in the minds of petitioner and his family by showing them that
the sanctity of their home, from then on, will not be free from the
watchful eyes of the military, permanently captured through the
medium of a seemingly innocuous cellphone video camera.

b. The failure to conduct a fair and effect investigation


amounted to a violation of or threat to RodriguezE’s rights to
life, liberty and security.

The Rule on the Writ of Amparo explicitly states that the violation
of or threat to the right to life, liberty and security may be caused
by either an act or an omission of a public official. Moreover, in
the context of amparo proceedings, responsibility may refer to the
participation of the respondents, by action or omission, in enforced
disappearance.

Accountability, on the other hand, may attach to respondents who


are imputed with knowledge relating to the enforced disappearance
and who carry the burden of disclosure; or those who carry, but
have failed to discharge, the burden of extraordinary diligence in
the investigation of the enforced disappearance.

In the instant case, this Court rules that respondents in G.R. No.
191805 are responsible or accountable for the violation of
RodriguezÊs right to life, liberty and security on account of their
abject failure to conduct a fair and effective official investigation
of his ordeal in the hands of the military. Respondents Gen. Ibrado,
PDG. Verzosa, Lt. Gen. Bangit, Maj. Gen. Ochoa, Col. De Vera
and Lt. Col. Mina only conducted a perfunctory investigation,
exerting no efforts to take RamirezÊs account of the events into
consideration. Rather, these respondents solely relied on the
reports and narration of the military.

Clearly, the absence of a fair and effective official investigation


into the claims of Rodriguez violated his right to security, for
which respondents in G.R. No. 191805 must be held responsible or
accountable. Nevertheless, it must be clarified that Rodriguez was
unable to establish any responsibility or accountability on the part
of respondents P/CSupt. Tolentino, P/SSupt. Santos, Calog and
Palacpac. Respondent P/CSupt. Tolentino had already retired when
the abduction and reassigned and transferred to the National
Capital Regional Police Office six months before the subject
incident occurred. Meanwhile, no sufficient allegations were
maintained against respondents Calog and Palacpac.

From all the foregoing, we rule that Rodriguez was successful in


proving through substantial evidence that respondents Gen. Ibrado,
PDG. Verzosa, Lt. Gen. Bangit, Maj. Gen. Ochoa, Brig. Gen. De
Vera, 1st Lt. Matutina, and Lt. Col. Mina were responsible and
accountable for the violation of RodriguezÊs rights to life, liberty
and security on the basis of (a) his abduction, detention and torture
from 6 September to 17 September 2009, and (b) the lack of any
fair and effective official investigation as to his allegations. Thus,
the privilege of the writs of amparo and habeas data must be
granted in his favor. As a result, there is no longer any need to
issue a temporary protection order, as the privilege of these writs
already has the effect of enjoining respondents in G.R. No. 191805
from violating his rights to life, liberty and security.

It is also clear from the above discussion that despite


(a) maintaining former President Arroyo in the list of respondents
in G.R. No. 191805, and
(b) allowing the application of the command responsibility
doctrine to amparo and habeas data proceedings, Rodriguez failed
to prove through substantial evidence that former President Arroyo
was responsible or accountable for the violation of his rights to
life, liberty and property. He likewise failed to prove through
substantial evidence the accountability or responsibility of
respondents Maj. Gen. Ochoa, Cruz, Pasicolan and Callagan.

WHEREFORE, we resolve to GRANT the Petition for Partial


Review in G.R. No. 191805 and DENY the Petition for Review in
G.R. No. 193160. The Decision of the Court of Appeals is hereby
AFFIRMED WITH MODIFICATION.

Writ of Habeas Data

1. Meralco v. Lim

Facts:
Rosario G. Lim (respondent), also known as Cherry Lim, is an
administrative clerk at the Manila Electric Company
(MERALCO). On June 4, 2008, an anonymous letter was posted at
the door of the Metering Office of the Administration building of
MERALCO Plaridel, Bulacan Sector, at which respondent is
assigned, denouncing respondent.

The letter reads:


MATAPOS MONG LAMUNIN LAHAT NG BIYAYA NG
MERALCO, NGAYON NAMAN AY GUSTO MONG
PALAMON ANG BUONG KUMPANYA SA MGA BUWAYA NG
GOBYERNO. KAPAL NG MUKHA MO, LUMAYAS KA RITO,
WALANG UTANG NA LOOB.

Copies of the letter were also inserted in the lockers of


MERALCO linesmen.

Informed about it, respondent reported the matter on June 5, 2008


to the Plaridel Station of the Philippine National Police. By
Memorandum3 dated July 4, 2008, petitioner Alexander Deyto,
Head of MERALCOÊs Human Resource Staffing, directed the
transfer of respondent to MERALCOÊs Alabang Sector in
Muntinlupa as „A/F OTMS Clerk, ‰ effective July 18, 2008 in
light of the receipt of “reports that there were accusations and
threats directed against [her] from unknown individuals and which
could possibly compromise [her] safety and security.”

Respondent, by letter of July 10, 2008 addressed to petitioner


Ruben A. Sapitula, Vice-President and Head of MERALCOÊs
Human Resource Administration, appealed her transfer and
requested for a dialogue so she could voice her concerns and
misgivings on the matter, claiming that the „punitive‰ nature of
the transfer amounted to a denial of due pro​cess. Citing the
grueling travel from her residence in Pampanga to Alabang and
back entails, and violation of the provisions on job security of their
Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), respondent expressed
her thoughts on the alleged threats to her security in this wise:

“I feel that it would have been better . . . if you could have


intimated to me the nature of the alleged accusations and threats so
that at least I could have found out if these are credible or even
serious. But as you stated, these came from unknown individuals
and the way they were handled, it appears that the veracity of these
accusations and threats to be [sic] highly suspicious, doubtful or
are just mere jokes if they existed at all. Assuming for the sake of
argument only, that the alleged threats exist as the management
apparently believe, then my transfer to an unfamiliar place and
environment which will make me a „sitting duck ‰ so to speak,
seems to betray the real intent of management which is contrary to
its expressed concern on my security and safety. Thus, it made me
think twice on the rationale for managementÊs initiated transfer.
Reflecting further, it appears to me that instead of the management
supposedly extending favor to me, the net result and effect of
management action would be a punitive one.”

Respondent thus requested for the deferment of the


implementation of her transfer pending resolution of the issues she
raised. No response to her request having been received,
respondent filed a petition5 for the issuance of a writ of habeas
data against petitioners before the RTC of Bulacan.

By respondent’s allegation, petitioner’s unlawful act and


omission consisting of their continued failure and refusal to
provide her with details or information about the alleged
report which MERALCO purportedly received concerning
threats to her safety and security amount to a violation of her
right to privacy in life, liberty and security, correctible by
habeas data.

Respondent thus prayed for the issuance of a writ commanding


petitioners to file a written return containing the following:
a) a full disclosure of the data or information about respondent in
relation to the report purportedly received by petitioners on the
alleged threat to her safety and security; the nature of such data
and the purpose for its collection;
b) the measures taken by petitioners to ensure the confidentiality of
such data or information; and
c) the currency and accuracy of such data or information obtained.

Respondent also prayed for the issuance of a TRO to enjoin


petitioners from effecting her transfer to MERALCO Alabang.

RTC directed petitioners to file their return.

Petitioner filed an MTD on the ground that, inter alia, resort to a


petition for writ of habeas data was not in order; and the RTC
lacked jurisdiction over the case which properly belongs to the
NLRC.

RTC denied the MTD and held that recourse to a writ of habeas
data should extend not only to victims of extra-legal killings and
political activists but also to ordinary citizens, like respondent
whose rights to life and security are jeopardized by petitionersÊ
refusal to provide her with information or data on the reported
threats to her person.

Hence this petition for review under Rule 45 contending that


1) the RTC lacked jurisdiction over the case and cannot restrain
MERALCOÊs prerogative as employer to transfer the place of
work of its employees, and
2) the issuance of the writ is outside the parameters expressly set
forth in the Rule on the Writ of Habeas Data.

Issues:
W/N the RTC has jurisdiction over the case - No.

Held:
No. The petition is impressed with merit.

RespondentÊs plea that she be spared from complying with


MERALCOÊs Memorandum directing her reassignment to the
Alabang Sector, under the guise of a quest for information or data
allegedly in possession of petitioners, does not fall within the
province of a writ of habeas data. Section 1 of the Rule on the Writ
of Habeas Data provides:

Section 1. Habeas Data. ·The writ of habeas data is a remedy


available to any person whose right to privacy in life, liberty or
security is violated or threatened by an unlawful act or
omission of a public official or employee or of a private individual
or entity engaged in the gathering, collecting or storing of data
or information regarding the person, family, home and
correspondence of the aggrieved party. (emphasis and
underscoring supplied)

The habeas data rule, in general, is designed to protect by means of


judicial complaint the image, privacy, honor, information, and
freedom of information of an individual. It is meant to provide a
forum to enforce oneÊs right to the truth and to informational
privacy, thus safeguarding the constitutional guarantees of a
personÊs right to life, liberty and security against abuse in this age
of information technology.

It bears reiteration that like the writ of amparo, habeas data was
conceived as a response, given the lack of effective and available
remedies, to address the extraordinary rise in the number of
killings and enforced disappearances. Its intent is to address
violations of or threats to the rights to life, liberty or security as a
remedy independently from those provided under prevailing Rules.

Castillo v. Cruz, 605 SCRA 628 (2009), underscores the emphasis


laid down in Tapuz v. del Rosario, 554 SCRA 768 (2008), that the
writs of amparo and habeas data will NOT issue to protect
purely property or commercial concerns nor when the grounds
invoked in support of the petitions therefor are vague or
doubtful. Employment constitutes a property right under the
context of the due process clause of the Constitution. It is
evident that respondentÊs reservations on the real reasons for
her transfer — a legitimate concern respecting the terms and
conditions of oneÊs employment — are what prompted her to
adopt the extraordinary remedy of habeas data. Jurisdiction
over such concerns is inarguably lodged by law with the NLRC
and the Labor Arbiters.

In another vein, there is no showing from the facts presented that


petitioners committed any unjustifiable or unlawful violation of
respondentÊs right to privacy vis-à-vis the right to life, liberty or
security. To argue that petitionersÊ refusal to disclose the
contents of reports allegedly received on the threats to
respondentÊs safety amounts to a violation of her right to
privacy is at best speculative. Respondent in fact trivializes
these threats and accusations from unknown individuals in her
earlier-quoted portion of her July 10, 2008 letter as „highly
suspicious, doubtful or are just mere jokes if they existed at all.
‰ And she even suspects that her transfer to another place of
work „betray[s] the real intent of management]‰ and could be
a „punitive move.‰ Her posture unwittingly concedes that the
issue is labor-related.

WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The assailed


September 22, 2008 Decision of the Bulacan RTC, Branch 7 in SP.
Proc. No. 213-M-2008 is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE.
SP. Proc. No. 213-M-2008 is, accordingly, DISMISSED.

2. Gamboa v. Chan
Facts:
At the time the present Petition was filed, petitioner Marynette R.
Gamboa (Gamboa) was the Mayor of Dingras, Ilocos Norte.5
Meanwhile, respondent Police Senior Superintendent (P/SSUPT.)
Marlou C. Chan was the Officer-in-Charge, and respondent Police
Superintendent (P/SUPT.) William O. Fang was the Chief of the
Provincial Investigation and Detective Management Branch, both
of the Ilocos Norte Police Provincial Office.

On 8 December 2009, former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo


issued Administrative Order No. 275 (A.O. 275), „Creating an
Independent Commission to Address the Alleged Existence of
Private Armies in the Country.‰7 The body, which was later on
referred to as the Zeñarosa Commission,8 was formed to
investigate the existence of private army groups (PAGs) in the
country with a view to eliminating them before the 10 May 2010
elections and dismantling them permanently in the future.9 Upon
the conclusion of its investigation, the Zeñarosa Commission
released and submitted to the Office of the President a confidential
report entitled „A Journey Towards H.O.P.E.: The Independent
Commission Against Private ArmiesÊ Report to the President ‰
(the Report).

Gamboa alleged that the Philippine National Police in Ilocos


Norte (PNP–Ilocos Norte) conducted a series of surveillance
operations against her and her aides,11 and classified her as
someone who keeps a PAG.12 Purportedly without the benefit
of data verification, PNP-Ilocos Norte forwarded the
information gathered on her to the Zeñarosa Commission,13
thereby causing her inclusion in the ReportÊs enumeration of
individuals maintaining PAGs.

On 6 and 7 July 2010, ABS-CBN broadcasted on its evening


news program the portion of the Report naming Gamboa as
one of the politicians alleged to be maintaining a PAG. Gamboa
averred that her association with a PAG also appeared on print
media.22 Thus, she was publicly tagged as someone who
maintains a PAG on the basis of the unverified information that the
PNP-Ilocos Norte gathered and forwarded to the Zeñarosa
Commission.23

As a result, she claimed that her malicious or reckless inclusion in


the enumeration of personalities maintaining a PAG as published
in the Report also made her, as well as her supporters and other
people identified with her, susceptible to harassment and police
surveillance operations.24

Contending that her right to privacy was violated and her


reputation maligned and destroyed, Gamboa filed a Petition for the
issuance of a writ of habeas data against respondents in their
capacities as officials of the PNP-Ilocos Norte.25 In her Petition,
she prayed for the following reliefs: (a) destruction of the
unverified reports from the PNP- Ilocos Norte database;
(b) withdrawal of all information forwarded to higher PNP
officials;
(c) rectification of the damage done to her honor;
(d) ordering respondents to refrain from forwarding unverified
reports against her; and
(e) restraining respondents from making baseless reports.

The RTC issued the writ after finding the Petition meritorious on
its face. The RTC thus
(a) instructed respondents to submit all information and reports
forwarded to and used by the Zeñarosa Commission as basis to
include her in the list of persons maintaining PAGs;
(b) directed respondents, and any person acting on their behalf, to
cease and desist from forwarding to the Zeñarosa Commission, or
to any other government entity, information that they may have
gathered against her without the approval of the court;
(c) ordered respondents to make a written return of the writ
together with supporting affidavits; and
(d) scheduled the summary hearing of the case on 23 July 2010.

In their Return of the Writ, respondents alleged that they had


acted within the bounds of their mandate in conducting the
investigation and surveillance of Gamboa.29 The information
stored in their database supposedly pertained to two criminal
cases for Murder in which she was implicated.

Respondents likewise asserted that the Petition was incomplete for


failing to comply with the following requisites under the Rule on
the Writ of Habeas Data:
(a) the manner in which the right to privacy was violated or
threatened with violation and how it affected the right to life,
liberty or security of Gamboa;
(b) the actions and recourses she took to secure the data or
information; and
(c) the location of the files, registers or databases, the government
office, and the person in charge, in possession or in control of the
data or information.31

They also contended that the Petition for Writ of Habeas Data,
being limited to cases of extrajudicial killings and enforced
disappearances, was not the proper remedy to address the alleged
besmirching of the reputation of Gamboa.

While finding that the inclusion of Gamboa in the list of persons


maintaining PAGs constituted a violation of her right to privacy,
the RTC nevertheless dismissed the petition on the ground that
Gamboa failed to prove through substantial evidence that the
subject information originated from respondents, and that they
forwarded this database to the Zeñarosa Commission without the
benefit of prior verification. The trial court also ruled that even
before respondents assumed their official positions, information on
her may have already been acquired.36 Finally, it held that the
Zeñarosa Commission, as the body tasked to gather information on
PAGs and authorized to disclose information on her, should have
been impleaded as a necessary if not a compulsory party to the
Petition.

Hence this Appeal by Certiorari.

Issue:
W/N Gamboa is entitled to the privilege of the writ of habeas data
- No.
Held:
No.
In determining whether Gamboa should be granted the privilege of
the writ of habeas data, this Court is called upon to, first, unpack
the concept of the right to privacy; second, explain the writ of
habeas data as an extraordinary remedy that seeks to protect the
right to informational privacy; and finally, contextualize the right
to privacy vis-à- vis the state interest involved in the case at bar.

I. The right to privacy, despite being a constitutional right, is


nevertheless not absolute.

The right to privacy, as an inherent concept of liberty, has long


been recognized as a constitutional right. Liberty in the
constitutional sense must mean more than freedom from unlawful
governmental restraint; it must include privacy as well, if it is to be
a repository of freedom. The right to be let alone is indeed the
beginning of all freedom.‰ As a matter of fact, this right to be let
alone is, to quote from Mr. Justice Brandeis „the most
comprehensive of rights and the right most valued by civilized
men.‰ The concept of liberty would be emasculated if it does not
likewise compel respect for his personality as a unique individual
whose claim to privacy and interference demands respect.

Clearly, the right to privacy is considered a fundamental right that


must be protected from intrusion or constraint. However, in
Standard Chartered Bank v. Senate Committee on Banks, 541
SCRA 456 (2007), this Court underscored that the right to privacy
is not absolute, viz.: With respect to the right of privacy which
petitioners claim respondent has violated, suffice it to state that
privacy is not an absolute right. While it is true that Section 21,
Article VI of the Constitution, guarantees respect for the rights of
persons affected by the legislative investigation, not every
invocation of the right to privacy should be allowed to thwart a
legitimate congressional inquiry. In Sabio v. Gordon, we have
held that the right of the people to access information on matters of
public concern generally prevails over the right to privacy of
ordinary financial transactions. In that case, we declared that the
right to privacy is not absolute where there is an overriding
compelling state interest. Employing the rational basis
relationship test, as laid down in Morfe v. Mutuc, there is no
infringement of the individualÊs right to privacy as the
requirement to disclosure information is for a valid purpose, in
this case, to ensure that the government agencies involved in
regulating banking transactions adequately protect the public who
invest in foreign securities. Suffice it to state that this purpose
constitutes a reason compelling enough to proceed with the
assailed legislative investigation.

II. In order for the privilege of the writ to be granted, there


must exist a nexus between the right to privacy on the one
hand, and the right to life, liberty or security on the other. The
right to informational privacy, as a specific component of the
right to privacy, may yield to an overriding legitimate state
interest.

The writ of habeas data is an independent and summary remedy


designed to protect the image, privacy, honor, information, and
freedom of information of an individual, and to provide a forum to
enforce oneÊs right to the truth and to informational privacy. It
seeks to protect a personÊs right to control information regarding
oneself, particularly in instances in which such information is
being collected through unlawful means in order to achieve
unlawful ends. It must be emphasized that in order for the
privilege of the writ to be granted, there must exist a nexus
between the right to privacy on the one hand, and the right to
life, liberty or security on the other.

The notion of informational privacy is still developing in


Philippine law and jurisprudence. Considering that even the Latin
American habeas data, on which our own Rule on the Writ of
Habeas Data is rooted, finds its origins from the European tradition
of data protection,51 this Court can be guided by cases on the
protection of personal data decided by the European Court of
Human Rights (ECHR). Of particular note is Leander v.
Sweden,52 in which the ECHR balanced the right of citizens to be
free from interference in their private affairs with the right of the
state to protect its national security.

In this case, Torsten Leander (Leander), a Swedish citizen, worked


as a temporary replacement museum technician at the Naval
Museum, which was adjacent to a restricted military security
zone.53 He was refused employment when the requisite personnel
control resulted in an unfavorable outcome on the basis of
information in the secret police register, which was kept in
accordance with the Personnel Control Ordinance and to which he
was prevented access.54 He claimed, among others, that this
procedure of security control violated Article 8 of the European
Convention of Human Rights55 on the right to privacy, as nothing
in his personal or political background would warrant his
classification in the register as a security risk The ECHR ruled that
the storage in the secret police register of information relating to
the private life of Leander, coupled with the refusal to allow him
the opportunity to refute the same, amounted to an interference in
his right to respect for private life.57 However, the ECHR held
that the interference was justified on the following grounds:
(a) the personnel control system had a legitimate aim, which
was the protection of national security,58 and
(b) the Personnel Control Ordinance gave the citizens adequate
indication as to the scope and the manner of exercising discretion
in the collection, recording and release of information by the
authorities.

Leander illustrates how the right to informational privacy, as a


specific component of the right to privacy, may yield to an
overriding legitimate state interest. In similar fashion, the
determination of whether the privilege of the writ of habeas data,
being an extraordinary remedy, may be granted in this case entails
a delicate balancing of the alleged intrusion upon the private life of
Gamboa and the relevant state interest involved.

III. Gamboa was able to sufficiently establish that the data


contained in the Report listing her as a PAG coddler came
from the PNP. Contrary to the ruling of the trial court,
however, the forwarding of information by the PNP to the
Zeñarosa Commission was not an unlawful act that violated or
threatened her right to privacy in life, liberty or security.

The Constitution explicitly mandates the dismantling of private


armies and other armed groups not recognized by the duly
constituted authority.60 It also provides for the establishment of
one police force that is national in scope and civilian in character,
and is controlled and administered by a national police
commission.61 Taking into account these constitutional fiats, it is
clear that the issuance of A.O. 275 articulates a legitimate state
aim, which is to investigate the existence of PAGs with the
ultimate objective of dismantling them permanently.

To enable the Zeñarosa Commission to achieve its goals, A.O. 275


clothed it with the powers of an investigative body, including the
power to summon witnesses, administer oaths, take testimony or
evidence relevant to the investigation and use compulsory
processes to produce documents, books, and records.62 A.O. 275
likewise authorized the Zeñarosa Commission to deputize the
Armed Forces of the Philippines, the National Bureau of
Investigation, the Department of Justice, the PNP, and any other
law enforcement agency to assist the commission in the
performance of its functions.

Meanwhile, the PNP, as the national police force, is empowered by


law to (a) enforce all laws and ordinances relative to the protection
of lives and properties; (b) maintain peace and order and take all
necessary steps to ensure public safety; and (c) investigate and
prevent crimes.
Pursuant to the state interest of dismantling PAGs, as well as
the foregoing powers and functions accorded to the Zeñarosa
Commission and the PNP, the latter collected information on
individuals suspected of maintaining PAGs, monitored them
and counteracted their activities.65 One of those individuals is
herein petitioner Gamboa.

This Court holds that Gamboa was able to sufficiently establish


that the data contained in the Report listing her as a PAG coddler
came from the PNP. Contrary to the ruling of the trial court,
however, the forwarding of information by the PNP to the
Zeñarosa Commission was not an unlawful act that violated or
threatened her right to privacy in life, liberty or security.

The fact that the PNP released information to the Zeñarosa


Commission without prior communication to Gamboa and
without affording her the opportunity to refute the same
cannot be interpreted as a violation or threat to her right to
privacy since that act is an inherent and crucial component of
intelligence- gathering and investigation.

Additionally, Gamboa herself admitted that the PNP had a


validation system, which was used to update information on
individuals associated with PAGs and to ensure that the data
mirrored the situation on the field.66 Thus, safeguards were put in
place to make sure that the information collected maintained its
integrity and accuracy.

Pending the enactment of legislation on data protection, this Court


declines to make any further determination as to the propriety of
sharing information during specific stages of intelligence
gathering. To do otherwise would supplant the discretion of
investigative bodies in the accomplishment of their functions,
resulting in an undue encroachment on their competence.

However, to accord the right to privacy with the kind of protection


established in existing law and jurisprudence, this Court
nonetheless deems it necessary to caution these investigating
entities that information-sharing must observe strict
confidentiality. Intelligence gathered must be released exclusively
to the authorities empowered to receive the relevant information.
After all, inherent to the right to privacy is the freedom from
„unwarranted exploitation of oneÊs person or from intrusion into
oneÊs private activities in such a way as to cause humiliation to a
personÊs ordinary sensibilities.‰67

In this case, respondents admitted the existence of the Report, but


emphasized its confidential nature. That it was leaked to third
parties and the media was regrettable, even warranting reproach.
But it must be stressed that Gamboa failed to establish that
respondents were responsible for this unintended disclosure. In
any event, there are other reliefs available to her to address the
purported damage to her reputation, making a resort to the
extraordinary remedy of the writ of habeas data unnecessary
and improper.

Finally, this Court rules that Gamboa was unable to prove


through substantial evidence that her inclusion in the list of
individuals maintaining PAGs made her and her supporters
susceptible to harassment and to increased police surveillance.
In this regard, respondents sufficiently explained that the
investigations conducted against her were in relation to the
criminal cases in which she was implicated. As public officials,
they enjoy the presumption of regularity, which she failed to
overcome.

It is clear from the foregoing discussion that the state interest of


dismantling PAGs far outweighs the alleged intrusion on the
private life of Gamboa, especially when the collection and
forwarding by the PNP of information against her was pursuant to
a lawful mandate. Therefore, the privilege of the writ of habeas
data must be denied.

WHEREFORE, the instant petition for review is DENIED. The


assailed Decision in Special Proc. No. 14979 dated 9 September
2010 of the Regional Trial Court, Laoag City, Br. 13, insofar as it
denies Gamboa the privilege of the writ of habeas data, is
AFFIRMED.

3. Saez v. Macapagal Arroyo

Facts:
On March 6, 2008, the petitioner filed with the Court a petition to
be granted the privilege of the writs of amparo and habeas data
with prayers for temporary protection order inspection of place and
production of documents.5
In the petition, he expressed his fear of being abducted and
killed; hence, he sought that he be placed in a sanctuary
appointed by the Court. He likewise prayed for the military to
cease from further conducting surveillance and monitoring of
his activities, and for his name to be excluded from the order of
battle and other government records connecting him to the
Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).

Without necessarily giving due course to the petition, the Court


issued the writ of amparo commanding the respondents to make a
verified return, and referred the case to the Court of Appeals (CA)
for hearing and decision. The case before the CA was docketed as
CA-G.R. SP No. 00024 WOA.

In the Return of the Writ,6 the respondents denied the assignment


in the units of Captains Lawrence Banaag and Rommel Gutierrez
and Corporal Ariel Fontanilla. The respondents also alleged that
the names and descriptions of „Capt. Alcaydo, ‰ „a certain First
Sergeant, ‰ „Cpl. James, ‰ „Pfc. Sonny, ‰ and „Joel ‰ were
insufficient to properly identify some of the persons sought to be
included as among the respondents in the petition. On the other
hand, respondents General Hermogenes Esperon, Jr. (Gen.
Esperon), Capt. Jacob Thaddeus Obligado, Pvt. Rizaldy A. Osio
(Pvt. Osio), Pfc. Romanito C. Quintana, Jr. and Pfc. Jerico Duquil
submitted their affidavits.

The CA conducted hearings with an intent to clarify what actually


transpired and to determine specific acts which threatened the
petitionerÊs right to life, liberty or security.

During the hearings, the petitioner narrated that starting April


16, 2007, he noticed that he was always being followed by a
certain „Joel, ‰ a former colleague at Bayan Muna. „Joel ‰
pretended peddling pandesal in the vicinity of the petitionerÊs
store. Three days before the petitioner was apprehended, „Joel
‰ approached and informed him of his marital status and
current job as a baker in Calapan, Mindoro Oriental. „Joel‰
inquired if the petitioner was still involved with ANAKPAWIS.
When asked by the CA justices during the hearing if the
petitioner had gone home to Calapan after having filed the
petition, he answered in the negative explaining that he was
afraid of Pvt. Osio who was always at the pier.

CA denied the reliefs prayed for on formal and substantial grounds


and dropped former PGMA as a respondent:

“Both the rules on the writs of Amparo and Habeas Data provide
that the parties shall establish their claims by substantial evidence.
Not only was petitioner unable to establish his entitlement to the
privilege of the writs applied for, the exigency thereof was negated
by his own admission that nothing happened between him and Joel
after July 21, 2007. The filing of the petition appears to have been
precipitated by his fear that something might happen to him, not
because of any apparent violation or visible threat to violate his
right to life, liberty or security. Petitioner was, in fact, unable to
establish likewise who among the respondents committed specific
acts defined under the rules on both writs to constitute violation or
threat to violate petitionerÊs rights to life, liberty or security or his
right to privacy thereof. As to the dropping of former PGMA,
Settled is the doctrine that the President, during his tenure of office
or actual incumbency, may not be sued in any civil or criminal
case, and there is no need to provide for it in the Constitution or
law.”

SC affirmed in this wise:


"CA correctly found that the petition was bereft of any
allegation as to what particular acts or omission of respondents
violated or threatened petitionerÊs right to life, liberty and
security. His claim that he was incommunicado lacks credibility as
he was given a cellular phone and allowed to go back to Oriental
Mindoro. The CA also correctly held that petitioner failed to
present substantial evidence that his right to life, liberty and
security were violated, or how his right to privacy was
threatened by respondents. He did not specify the particular
documents to be secured, their location or what particular
government office had custody thereof, and who has possession
or control of the same. He merely prayed that the respondents be
ordered „to produce any documents submitted to any of them in
the matter of any report on the case of FRANCIS SAEZ, including
all military intelligence reports.

Petitioner assails the CA in failing to appreciate that in his


Affidavit and Fact Sheet, he had specifically detailed the violation
of his right to privacy as he was placed in the Order of Battle and
promised to have his record cleared if he would cooperate and
become a military asset. However, despite questions propounded
by the CA Associate Justices during the hearing, he still failed
to enlighten the appellate court as to what actually transpired
to enable said court to determine whether his right to life,
liberty or security had actually been violated or threatened.
Records bear out the unsubstantiated claims of petitioner
which justified the appellate courtÊs dismissal of the petition.”

Hence this motion for reconsideration of the SC’s resolution.

Petitioner’s arguments:
1. Contrary to the CAÊs findings, it had been shown by substantial
evidence and even by the respondentsÊ own admissions that the
petitionerÊs life, liberty and security were threatened.

Military personnel, whom the petitioner had named and described,


knew where to get him and they can do so with ease. He also
became a military asset, but under duress, as the respondents had
documents allegedly linking him to the CPP and including him in
the order of battle. The petitioner claims that the foregoing
circumstances were not denied by the respondents.

2. The petitioner likewise challenges the CAÊs finding that he was


not rendered incommunicado as he was even provided with a
cellular phone. The petitioner argues that the phone was only given
to him for the purpose of communicating with the respondents
matters relative to his infiltration activities of target legal
organizations.

The petitioner cites Secretary of National Defense v. Manalo,13


which pronounced that „in the amparo context, it is more correct to
say that the Âright to securityÊ is actually the Âfreedom from
threat.Ê ‰ 14 According to the petitioner, his freedom from fear
was undoubtedly violated; hence, to him pertains a cause of action.
Anent the quantum of proof required in a petition for the issuance
of the writ of amparo, mere substantial evidence is sufficient. The
petition „is not an action to determine criminal guilt requiring
proof beyond reasonable doubt, or liability for damages requiring
preponderance of evidence, or administrative responsibility
requiring substantial evidence that will require full and exhaustive
proceedings.‰15 Sadly, in the petitionerÊs case, the court not only
demanded a greater quantum of proof than what the rules require,
but it also accorded special preference for the respondent’s
evidence.

3. The petitioner also cites a speech delivered in Siliman


University by former Chief Justice Reynato Puno who expressed
that „the remedy of habeas data can be used by any citizen against
any governmental agency or register to find out what information
is held about his or her person.‰ The person can likewise „request
the rectification or even the destruction of erroneous data gathered
and kept against him or her. ‰ In the petitionerÊs case, he
specifically sought the production of the order of battle, which
allegedly included his name, and other records which supposedly
contain erroneous data relative to his involvement with the CPP.

Issue:
W/N petitioner is entitled to the writ of habeas data - No.
Held:
No. While the issuance of the writs sought by the petitioner cannot
be granted, the Court nevertheless finds ample grounds to modify
certain pertinent discussions, as embodied in the Resolution dated
August 31, 2010.

I. Petitioner’s petition was sufficient as to its contents. (SC


reversed itself on this portion)

In the present case, the Court notes that the petition for the
issuance of the privilege of the writs of amparo and habeas data is
sufficient as to its contents.

1. The petitioner made specific allegations relative to his personal


circumstances and those of the respondents.

2. The petitioner likewise indicated particular acts, which are


allegedly violative of his rights and the alleged participation of
some of the respondents in their commission.

3. As to the pre- requisite conduct and result of an investigation


prior to the filing of the petition, it was explained that the
petitioner expected no relief from the military, which he perceived
as his oppressors, hence, his request for assistance from a human
rights organization, then a direct resort to the court.

4. Anent the documents sought to be the subject of the writ of


habeas data prayed for, the Court finds the requirement of
specificity to have been satisfied. The documents subject of the
petition include the order of battle, those linking the petitioner to
the CPP and those he signed involuntarily, and military
intelligence reports making references to him. Although the exact
locations and the custodians of the documents were not identified,
this does not render the petition insufficient. Section 6(d) of the
Rule on the Writ of Habeas Data is clear that the requirement of
specificity arises only when the exact locations and identities of
the custodians are known.

The Amparo Rule was not promulgated with the intent to make it a
token gesture of concern for constitutional rights.19 Thus, despite
the lack of certain contents, which the Rules on the Writs of
Amparo and Habeas Data generally require, for as long as their
absence under exceptional circumstances can be reasonably
justified, a petition should not be susceptible to outright dismissal.

From the foregoing, the Court holds that the allegations stated in
the petition for the privilege of the writs of amparo and habeas data
filed conform to the rules. However, they are mere allegations,
which the Court cannot accept „hook, line and sinker ‰ , so to
speak, and whether substantial evidence exist to warrant the
granting of the petition is a different matter altogether.

II. No substantial evidence exists to prove petitioner’s claims

The Court has ruled that in view of the recognition of the


evidentiary difficulties attendant to the filing of a petition for the
privilege of the writs of amparo and habeas data, not only direct
evidence, but circumstantial evidence, indicia, and presumptions
may be considered, so long as they lead to conclusions consistent
with the admissible evidence adduced.20

With the foregoing in mind, the Court still finds that the CA did
not commit a reversible error in declaring that no substantial
evidence exist to compel the grant of the reliefs prayed for by the
petitioner. The Court took a second look on the evidence on record
and finds no reason to reconsider the denial of the issuance of the
writs prayed for.

In the hearing before the CA, it was claimed that „Joel ‰ once
inquired from the petitioner if the latter was still involved with
ANAKPAWIS. By itself, such claim cannot establish with
certainty that the petitioner was being monitored. The encounter
happened once and the petitioner, in his pleadings, nowhere stated
that subsequent to the time he was asked about his involvement
with ANAKPAWIS, he still noticed „Joel ‰ conducting
surveillance operations on him. He alleged that he was brought to
the camp of the 204th Infantry Brigade in Naujan, Oriental
Mindoro but was sent home at 5:00 p.m. The petitioner and the
respondents have conflicting claims about what transpired
thereafter. The petitioner insisted that he was brought against his
will and was asked to stay by the respondents in places under the
latterÊs control. The respondents, on the other hand, averred that it
was the petitioner who voluntarily offered his service to be a
military asset, but was rejected as the former still doubted his
motives and affiliations.

Section 19 of both the Rules on the Writ of Amparo and Habeas


Data is explicit that questions of fact and law can be raised before
the Court in a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45. As a
rule then, the Court is not bound by the factual findings made by
the appellate court which rendered the judgment in a petition for
the issuance of the writs of amparo and habeas data. Be that as it
may, in the instant case, the Court agrees with the CA that the
petitioner failed to discharge the burden of proof imposed
upon him by the rules to establish his claims. It cannot be
overemphasized that Section 1 of both the Rules on the Writ of
Amparo and Habeas Data expressly include in their coverage
even threatened violations against a personÊs right to life,
liberty or security. Further, threat and intimidation that vitiate
the free will―although not involving invasion of bodily
integrity―nevertheless constitute a violation of the right to
security in the sense of „freedom from threat.

It must be stressed, however, that such „threat‰ must find rational


basis on the surrounding circumstances of the case. In this case,
the petition was mainly anchored on the alleged threats against his
life, liberty and security by reason of his inclusion in the
militaryÊs order of battle, the surveillance and monitoring
activities made on him, and the intimidation exerted upon him to
compel him to be a military asset. While, as stated earlier, mere
threats fall within the mantle of protection of the writs of
amparo and habeas data, in the petitionerÊs case, the
restraints and threats allegedly made lack corroborations, are
not supported by independent and credible evidence, and thus
stand on nebulous grounds.
In his Sinumpaang Salaysay22 dated March 5, 2008 and the Fact
Sheet dated December 9, 200723 executed before the Alliance for
the Advancement of PeopleÊs Rights-Southern Tagalog
(KARAPATAN-ST), the petitioner stated that when he was invited
and interrogated at the military camp in Naujan, Oriental Mindoro,
he brought with him his uncle Norberto Roxas, Barangay Captain
Mario Ilagan and two of his bodyguards, and Edwardo
Estabillo―five witnesses who can attest and easily corroborate his
statement―but curiously, the petitioner did not present any piece
of evidence, whether documentary or testimonial, to buttress such
claim nor did he give any reason for their non-presentation. This
could have made a difference in light of the denials made by the
respondents as regards the petitionerÊs claims.

The existence of an order of battle and inclusion of the


petitionerÊs name in it is another allegation by the petitioner that
does not find support on the evidence adduced. The Court notes
that such allegation was categorically denied by respondent Gen.
Avelino I. Razon, Jr. who, in his Affidavit dated March 31, 2008,
stated that he „does not have knowledge about any Armed Forces
of the Philippines (AFP) Âorder of battleÊ which allegedly lists
the petitioner as a member of the CPP.‰24 This was also denied
by Pvt. Osio, who the petitioner identified as the one who told him
that he was included in the order of battle.25 The 2nd Infantry
(Jungle Fighter) Division of the Philippine Army also conducted
an investigation pursuant to the directive of AFP Chief of Staff
Gen. Esperon,26 and it was shown that the persons identified by
the petitioners who allegedly committed the acts complained of
were not connected or assigned to the 2nd Infantry Division.27
Moreover, the evidence showed that the petitionerÊs mobility was
never curtailed. From the time he was allegedly brought to
Batangas in August of 2007 until the time he sought the assistance
of KARAPATAN-ST, there was no restraint upon the petitioner to
go home, as in fact, he went home to Mindoro on several
instances. And while he may have been wary of Pvt. OsioÊs
presence at the pier, there was no claim by the petitioner that he
was threatened or prevented by Pvt. Osio from boarding any
vehicle that may transport him back home. The petitioner also
admitted that he had a mobile phone; hence, he had unhampered
access to communication and can readily seek assistance from
non-governmental organizations and even government agencies.

The respondents also belied the petitionerÊs claim that they forced
him to become a military informant and instead, alleged that it was
the petitioner who volunteered to be one. Thus, in his Sinumpaang
Salaysay28 executed on March 25, 2008, Pvt. Osio admitted that
he actually knew the petitioner way back in 1998 when they were
still students. He also stated that when he saw the petitioner again
in 2007, the latter manifested his intention to become a military
informant in exchange for financial and other forms of assistance.

The petitioner also harps on the alleged „monitoring ‰ activities


being conducted by a certain „Joel‰, e.g., the latterÊs alleged act
of following him, pretending to peddle pandesal and asking him
about his personal circumstances. Such allegation by the petitioner,
however, is, at best, a conclusion on his part, a mere impression
that the petitioner had, based on his personal assessment of the
circumstances. The petitioner even admitted in his testimony
before the CA that when he had a conversation with „Joel ‰
sometime in July 2007, the latter merely asked him whether he was
still connected with ANAKPAWIS, but he was not threatened
„with anything ‰ and no other incident occurred between them
since then.29

There is clearly nothing on record which shows that „Joel ‰


committed overt acts that will unequivocally lead to the conclusion
arrived at by the petitioner, especially since the alleged acts
committed by „Joel‰ are susceptible of different interpretations.

Given that the totality of the evidence presented by the petitioner


failed to support his claims, the reliefs prayed for, therefore, cannot
be granted. The liberality accorded to amparo and habeas data
cases does not mean that a claimant is dispensed with the onus of
proving his case. „Indeed, even the liberal standard of substantial
evidence demands some adequate evidence.

III. While the President cannot be completely dropped as a


respondent in a petition for the privilege of the writs of amparo
and habeas data merely on the basis of the presidential
immunity from suit, the petitioner in this case failed to
establish accountability of the President, as commander-in-
chief, under the doctrine of command responsibility.

IV. Compliance with technical rules of procedure is ideal but it


cannot be accorded primacy
Among the grounds cited by the CA in denying the petition for the
issuance of the writs of amparo and habeas data was the defective
verification which was attached to the petition.

In Tagitis,35 supporting affidavits required under Section 5(c) of


the Rule on the Writ of Amparo were not submitted together with
the petition and it was ruled that the defect was fully cured when
the petitioner and the witness personally testified to prove the truth
of their allegations in the hearings held before the CA

To conclude, compliance with technical rules of procedure is ideal


but it cannot be accorded primacy. In the proceedings before the
CA, the petitioner himself testified to prove the veracity of the
allegations in his petition. Hence, the defect in the verification
attached to the petition was deemed cured.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petitionerÊs motion for


reconsideration is DENIED WITH FINALITY.
SO ORDERED.

4. Roxas v. Macapagal Arroyo

Facts:
While in the United States, petitioner enrolled in an exposure
program to the Philippines with the group Bagong Alyansang
Makabayan-United States of America (BAYAN-USA) of which
she is a member. During the course of her immersion, petitioner
toured various provinces and towns of Central Luzon and
volunteered to join members of BAYAN-Tarlac in conducting an
initial health survey in La Paz, Tarlac for a future medical mission.

After doing survey work on 19 May 2009, petitioner and her


companions, Juanito Carabeo (Carabeo) and John Edward Jandoc
(Jandoc), decided to rest in the house of one Mr. Jesus Paolo (Mr.
Paolo) in Sitio Bagong Sikat, Barangay Kapa​nikian, La Paz,
Tarlac.10

At around 1:30 in the afternoon, however, petitioner, her


companions and Mr. Paolo were startled by the loud sounds of
someone banging at the front door and a voice demanding that
they open up. Suddenly, fifteen (15) heavily armed men forcibly
opened the door, barged inside and ordered petitioner and her
companions to lie on the ground face down.12 The armed men
were all in civilian clothes and, with the exception of their leader,
were also wearing bonnets to conceal their faces.13 Petitioner tried
to protest the intrusion, but five (5) of the armed men ganged up on
her and tied her hands.14 At this juncture, petitioner saw the other
armed men herding Carabeo and Jandoc, already blindfolded and
taped at their mouths, to a nearby blue van. Petitioner started to
shout her name.15 Against her vigorous resistance, the armed men
dragged petitioner towards the van·bruising her arms, legs and
knees.16 Once inside the van, but before she can be blindfolded,
petitioner was able to see the face of one of the armed men sitting
beside her.17 The van then sped away.

After about an hour of traveling, the van stopped.18 Petitioner,


Carabeo and Jandoc were ordered to alight.19 After she was
informed that she is being detained for being a member of the
Communist Party of the Philippines-New PeopleÊs Army (CPP-
NPA), petitioner was separated from her companions and was
escorted to a room that she believed was a jail cell from the sound
of its metal doors.20 From there, she could hear the sounds of
gunfire, the noise of planes taking off and landing and some
construction bustle.21 She inferred that she was taken to the
military camp of Fort Magsaysay in Laur, Nueva Ecija.22 What
followed was five (5) straight days of interrogation coupled with
torture.23 The thrust of the interrogations was to convince
petitioner to abandon her communist beliefs in favor of returning
to „the fold. ‰ 24 The torture, on the other hand, consisted of
taunting, choking, boxing and suffocating the petitioner.25
Throughout the entirety of her ordeal, petitioner was made to
suffer in blindfolds even in her sleep.26 Petitioner was only
relieved of her blindfolds when she was allowed to take a bath,
during which she became acquainted with a woman named „Rose
‰ who bathed her.27 There were also a few times when she
cheated her blindfold and was able to peek at her surroundings.

Despite being deprived of sight, however, petitioner was still able


to learn the names of three of her interrogators who introduced
themselves to her as „Dex, ‰ „James ‰ and „RC. ‰ 29 „RC ‰
even told petitioner that those who tortured her came from the
„Special Operations Group,‰ and that she was abducted because
her name is included in the „Order of Battle.‰30

On 25 May 2009, petitioner was finally released and returned to


her uncleÊs house in Quezon City.31 Before being released,
however, the abductors gave petitioner a cellular phone with a
SIM32 card, a slip of paper containing an e-mail address with
password,33 a plastic bag containing biscuits and books,34 the
handcuffs used on her, a blouse and a pair of shoes.35
Petitioner was also sternly warned not to report the incident to
the group Karapatan or something untoward will happen to
her and her family.36

Sometime after her release, petitioner continued to receive calls


from RC via the cellular phone given to her.37 Out of
apprehension that she was being monitored and also fearing for
the safety of her family, petitioner threw away the cellular phone
with a SIM card.

Seeking sanctuary against the threat of future harm as well as the


suppression of any existing government files or records linking her
to the communist movement, petitioner filed a Petition for the
Writs of Amparo and Habeas Data before this Court on 1 June
2009.38 Petitioner impleaded public officials occupying the
uppermost echelons of the military and police hierarchy as
respondents, on the belief that it was government agents who were
behind her abduction and torture. Petitioner likewise included in
her suit „Rose,‰ „Dex‰ and „RC.‰

Respondents’ defense
On 18 June 2009, the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), filed a
Return of the Writs43 on behalf of the public officials impleaded
as respondents.
The public respondents label petitionerÊs alleged abduction and
torture as „stage managed.‰44 In support of their accusation, the
public respondents principally rely on the statement of Mr. Paolo,
as contained in the Special Report45 of the La Paz Police Station.
In the Special Report, Mr. Paolo disclosed that, prior to the
purported abduction, petitioner and her companions instructed him
and his two sons to avoid leaving the house.46 From this
statement, the public respondents drew the distinct possibility that,
except for those already inside Mr. PaoloÊs house, nobody else has
any way of knowing where petitioner and her companions were at
the time they were supposedly abducted.47 This can only mean,
the public respondents concluded, that if ever there was any
„abduction ‰ it must necessarily have been planned by, or done
with the consent of, the petitioner and her companions
themselves.48

Public respondents also cited the Medical Certificate49 of the


petitioner, as actually belying her claims that she was subjected to
serious torture for five (5) days. The public respondents noted that
while the petitioner alleges that she was choked and boxed by her
abductors·inflictions that could have easily produced remarkable
bruises·her Medical Certificate only shows abrasions in her wrists
and knee caps. For the public respondents, the above anomalies put
in question the very authenticity of petitionerÊs alleged abduction
and torture, more so any military or police involvement therein.
Hence, public respondents conclude that the claims of abduction
and torture was no more than a charade fabricated by the petitioner
to put the government in bad light, and at the same time, bring
great media mileage to her and the group that she represents.
Nevertheless, even assuming the abduction and torture to be
genuine, the public respondents insist on the dismissal of the
Amparo and Habeas Data petition based on the following grounds:
(a) as against respondent President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, in
particular, because of her immunity from suit,52 and
(b) as against all of the public respondents, in general, in view of
the absence of any specific allegation in the petition that they had
participated in, or at least authorized, the commission of such
atrocities.53

Finally, the public respondents posit that they had not been remiss
in their duty to ascertain the truth behind the allegations of the
petitioner. In both the police and military arms of the government
machinery, inquiries were set-up.

CA’s decision
CA denied Amparo but granted Habeas Data.

The Court of Appeals was not convinced that the military or


any other person acting under the acquiescence of the
government, were responsible for the abduction and torture of
the petitioner.89 The appellate court stressed that, judging by
her own statements, the petitioner merely „believed‰ that the
military was behind her abduction. Thus, the Court of Appeals
absolved the public respondents from any complicity in the
abduction and torture of petitioner.91 The petition was likewise
dismissed as against public respondent President Gloria
Macapagal-Arroyo, in view of her immunity from suit.
[Amparo part omitted]

Habeas Data part


The Court of Appeals likewise observed a transgression of the
right to informational privacy of the petitioner, noting the
existence of „records of investigations ‰ that concerns the
petitioner as a suspected member of the CPP- NPA.86 The
appellate court derived the existence of such records from a
photograph and video file presented in a press conference by
party-list representatives Jovito Palparan (Palparan) and
Pastor Alcover (Alcover), which allegedly show the petitioner
participating in rebel exercises. Representative Alcover also
revealed that the photograph and video came from a female
CPP-NPA member who wanted out of the organization.

According to the Court of Appeals, the proliferation of the


photograph and video, as well as any form of media,
insinuating that petitioner is part of the CPP-NPA does not
only constitute a violation of the right to privacy of the
petitioner but also puts further strain on her already volatile
security.87 To this end, the appellate court granted the
privilege of the writ of habeas data mandating the public
respondents to refrain from distributing to the public any
records, in whatever form, relative to petitionerÊs alleged ties
with the CPP-NPA or pertinently related to her abduction and
torture.

Hence this petition.


Issue:
1. W/N petitioner is entitled to a writ of Amparo - No. Omitted
discussion
2. W/N petitioner is entitled to a writ of Habeas Data - No.

Held:
I. No.

Omitted discussion, but basically:


In sum, the petitioner was not able to establish to a concrete point
that her abductors were actually affiliated, whether formally or
informally, with the military or the police organizations. Neither
does the evidence at hand prove that petitioner was indeed taken to
the military camp Fort Magsaysay to the exclusion of other places.
These evidentiary gaps, in turn, make it virtually impossible to
determine whether the abduction and torture of the petitioner was
in fact committed with the acquiescence of the public respondents.
On account of this insufficiency in evidence, a pronouncement of
responsibility on the part of the public respondents, therefore,
cannot be made.

II. No.

For the proper appreciation of the rationale used by the Court of


Appeals in granting the privilege of the writ of habeas data, We
quote hereunder the relevant portion125 of its decision:

"Petitioner prayed that all the records, intelligence reports and


reports on the investigations conducted on Melissa C. Roxas or
Melissa Roxas be produced and eventually expunged from the
records. Petitioner claimed to be included in the GovernmentÊs
Order of Battle under Oplan Bantay Laya which listed political
opponents against whom false criminal charges were filed based
on made up and perjured information.

Pending resolution of this petition and before Petitioner could


testify before Us, Ex-army general Jovito Palparan, Bantay party-
list, and Pastor Alcover of the Alliance for Nationalism and
Democracy party-list held a press conference where they revealed
that they received an information from a female NPA rebel who
wanted out of the organization, that Petitioner was a communist
rebel. Alcover claimed that said information reached them thru a
letter with photo of Petitioner holding firearms at an NPA training
camp and a video CD of the training exercises. Clearly, and
notwithstanding PetitionerÊs denial that she was the person in said
video, there were records of other investigations on Melissa C.
Roxas or Melissa Roxas which violate her right to privacy. The
unregulated dissemination of said unverified video CD or reports
of PetitionerÊs alleged ties with the CPP-NPA indiscriminately
made available for public consumption without evidence of its
authenticity or veracity certainly violates PetitionerÊs right to
privacy which must be protected by this Court. We, thus, deem it
necessary to grant Petitioner the privilege of the Writ of Habeas
Data.”

The writ of habeas data was conceptualized as a judicial remedy


enforcing the right to privacy, most especially the right to
informational privacy of individuals. The writ operates to protect a
personÊs right to control information regarding himself,
particularly in the instances where such information is being
collected through unlawful means in order to achieve unlawful
ends. Needless to state, an indispensable requirement before the
privilege of the writ may be extended is the showing, at least by
substantial evidence, of an actual or threatened violation of the
right to privacy in life, liberty or security of the victim. This, in the
case at bench, the petitioner failed to do.

The main problem behind the ruling of the Court of Appeals is that
there is actually no evidence on record that shows that any of
the public respondents had violated or threatened the right to
privacy of the petitioner. The act ascribed by the Court of
Appeals to the public respondents that would have violated or
threatened the right to privacy of the petitioner, i.e., keeping
records of investigations and other reports about the
petitionerÊs ties with the CPP-NPA, was not adequately
proven — considering that the origin of such records were
virtually unexplained and its existence, clearly, only inferred
by the appellate court from the video and photograph released
by Representatives Palparan and Alcover in their press
conference. No evidence on record even shows that any of the
public respondents had access to such video or photograph.

In view of the above considerations, the directive by the Court of


Appeals enjoining the public respondents from „distributing or
causing the distribution to the public any records in whatever form,
reports, documents or similar papers‰ relative to the petitionerÊs
„alleged ties with the CPP-NPA, ‰ appears to be devoid of any
legal basis.

The public respondents cannot be ordered to refrain from


distributing something that, in the first place, it was not proven
to have. Verily, until such time that any of the public
respondents were found to be actually responsible for the
abduction and torture of the petitioner, any inference
regarding the existence of reports being kept in violation of the
petitionerÊs right to privacy becomes farfetched, and
premature. For these reasons, this Court must, at least in the
meantime, strike down the grant of the privilege of the writ of
habeas data.

In light of these considerations, We agree with the Court of


Appeals that further investigation under the norm of extraordinary
diligence should be undertaken. This Court simply cannot write
finis to this case, on the basis of an incomplete investigation
conducted by the police and the military. In a very real sense, the
right to security of the petitioner is continuously put in jeopardy
because of the deficient investigation that directly contributes to
the delay in bringing the real perpetrators before the bar of justice.
To add teeth to the appellate courtÊs directive, however, We find it
fitting, nay, necessary to shift the primary task of conducting
further investigations on the abduction and torture of the petitioner
upon the CHR.

WHEREFORE, the instant petition is PARTIALLY


MERITORIOUS. [check dispositive portion on p.39 to see what
portions of CA decision were affirmed, reversed and modified.]